RYAN CHRISTIE has been banned for three games for his tussle with Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos at Parkhead.

The SFA found the Celtic playmaker guilty of deliberately attempting to grab the Colombian by his private parts as the champions lost 2-1 in the last encounter before the turn of the year.

The Hoops hierarchy and the player were stunned when they were served a note of complaint from compliance officer Clare Whyte. It was labelled a “crazy” charge by assistant manager John Kennedy before sentence was passed.

Simply put, the judgement call from the powers-that-be is as preposterous as it is alarming.

The player was automatically banned for two games for the offence and another match was added as an extra punishment for his red card against Livingston in October.

It was unfathomable that Christie should face any suspension never mind an additional one for an earlier indiscretion for which he had already been penalised.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS…Ryan Christie and Alfredo Morelos tussle at Parkhead.

Scotzine understands the totting-up system. If a player is a serial offender he deserves the book thrown at him. It’s clear slaps on the wrists do not register with these sort of players. They are normally known as “ball-winners”, no pun intended. That is their role in the team. They are destroyers, professionals skilled at their role within the framework of the manager’s strategy.

Some can apply skills to that side of the game whereas others will opt for brute strength. Their ability to hit laserbeam passes is in the zilch category, so there are obvious, monotonous and pathetic attempts to intimidate the opposition from these thugs in football boots.

It looks as though Ryan Christie has been chucked in with these limited individuals, characters, alas, bereft of skills and cursed without the gifts of an opponent lavished with breathtaking abilities with the quality to light up the stage. Entertainers as opposed to enforcers.

Now Ryan Christie has been dumped in beside the neanderthals who regularly shame the game; the SFA have judged he is a ball-grabbing serial bad guy.

Is this the same Ryan Christie who was knocked unconscious in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden in April last year when Aberdeen’s Dom Ball recklessly challenged him the air to such an extent he had to be removed on a stretcher and had to undergo facial reconstruction?

Is this the same Ryan Christie who had scored the Betfred League-winning against the Dons the previous December and was forced to sit in the Hampden stand while the team completed the historic treble treble?

CRASH LANDING…Morelos hits the turf as Christie looks on alongside Ryan Kent.

We are all aware – well, most of us outwith the corridors of Hampden – that Christie is more sinned against than sinning.

Undoubtedly, he deserved to be banished for a wayward tackle on Livingston defender Scott Robinson in October. There could be no argument over referee Willie Collum’s immediate red card. Notably, there were no protests from Christie as he headed straight for the exit after only 25 minutes of an encounter his team would go on to lose 2-0. No-one from the club disputed the match official’s swift action, either.

But, clearly, that ill-advised lunge is a one-off for a performer who is recognised wherever football is played as an artiste and not an assassin.

If Christie can be treated in such a quite remarkable and off-hand manner by the SFA, the blokes who make a living from clattering and crashing into opponents every match day must be shaking in their boots.

In a nutshell, Clare Whyte and Co have opened the door to dishing out weekly suspensions – if, of course, they choose to continue following their own mantra.

* WELL, Scotzine readers, what do you think? Please let us know and we will use the best of your comments on Feedback Friday where the voice of the fans is allowed to be seen and heard.

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About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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