By Harvey Byrne
Andy Walker has blasted the Scottish Football Association as “lazy” and “embarrassing” as Celtic look to take advantage of their appeals procedure in the buildup to the Rangers clash on Sunday.
Last weekend the Hoops saw captain Scott Brown earn a straight red card for a reckless challenge in the dying minutes of Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Ross County.
This meant he was likely to miss the Glasgow giants’ all important Scottish Cup semi-final clash against fierce rivals Rangers on Sunday at Hampden Park.
Many believe that the straight red was a fair decision, but after Celtic appealed it Brown will now be available to face the Gers with the SFA not set to make a decision themselves until after the weekend’s fixtures.
Now, former Celtic forward Walker believes the Hoops are right to take advantage, but he also believes that clubs will now follow and that the SFA are setting a bad precedent.
“I think Celtic are quite right to take advantage of the very lazy governance of Scottish football,” said Walker, as quoted by the Herald.
“The idea that they can’t meet to decide on Celtic’s appeal is a bit of an embarrassment.
“But every club will do the same and I think it’s a boost they have Scott Brown available because under Brendan Rodgers he has shown a great improvement in his game. I think he lost it momentarily against Ross County.
“It was 100% a red card and I don’t think he will win his appeal. If the process is in place to be taken advantage of, then by all means Celtic should use it. Of course it’s such a big game because it’s the next step for their quest for a treble.”
“I don’t think it really washes that they got in touch with clubs to say if there is an appeal to be had we are going to delay it. We all know games take place every week and the idea that whoever is sitting on a panel to decide if an appeal is success can’t somehow get together either today, tomorrow or before the weekend is pretty laughable.
“But it’s the way it works, and when it is in place you absolutely take advantage of it.
“I don’t think there’s any question that when Celtic do get their appeal in they will lose it. But I imagine they will want to have their captain fit and ready to lead them at Hampden.”
Brown, 31, has been the Celtic linchpin since his move from Hibernian in the summer of 2007 for a fee of £4.4million.
He has since helped his team lift seven Premiership titles in those 10 years and is never one to shy away from an Old Firm clash either.
This season he has started each of the Hoops’ four encounters against the Gers and he will be looking to do so once more on Sunday as they look to complete the season unbeaten in each of Scotland’s domestic trophies as well as against their fierce Glaswegian rivals.
In other Celtic news, Marco Negri believes this is what Rangers need to challenge the Hoops.