Alan Hutton has admitted he feels sorry for Callum McGregor after being sent off for Celtic against Rangers on Sunday.
The former Gers defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested Jack Simpson’s early yellow card led to the Hoops star’s own bookings.
McGregor received his marching orders after picking up two cautions in as many minutes before the half-hour mark at Ibrox.
However, Rangers defender Simpson had already been booked for an innocuous foul on Odsonne Edouard.
Hutton admitted that decision “set the tone” for the rest of the game.
He suggested McGregor may have gotten away with his fouls otherwise.
“Nick Walsh set the tone, I think, leading forward to the McGregor sending off by booking him so early,” Hutton told Football Insider’s Russell Edge.
“When you start with that, you have to go on as you started. Sometimes you just want to go into Old Firm games, be strong about your business, make a tackle or two and get the team going a little bit.
“I actually feel sorry for him a little bit. The yellow card was very early for Simpson and he (Walsh) has to continue in that way. I did feel for him but he should know better. However, he should know better.
“I mean we’re talking about the next Celtic captain here. You can’t really be getting drawn into making silly challenges. It ends up leading to a goal which is probably the most disappointing thing.
“I just feel sorry for him because I wouldn’t say it ruined the game after that but obviously it takes a massive change in direction.
“I know they did score but it was always going to be difficult to try hold Rangers out for the rest of the game with a man down after starting so well.
“Celtic were on top for the first while so it was a shame that they lost him. Ultimately, he should know better than that.”
McGregor was sent off in the aftermath of Rangers’ opener after referee Walsh played advantage.
He is now set to miss the Bhoys’ final home game of the season against St Johnstone through suspension.