Celtic’s Ronny Deila unhappy after controversial draw with Dundee United

Celtic's Virgil van Dijk (centre) after a collission with Dundee United's Calum Butcher (right)
Celtic's Virgil van Dijk (centre) after a collission with Dundee United's Calum Butcher (right)

Ronny Deila accused Aidan Connolly of diving in Celtic’s controversial 1-1 William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final draw with Dundee United at Tannadice which saw three red cards and two penalties.

Referee Craig Thomson sent off Hoops defender Virgil van Dijk and United midfielder Paul Paton after only nine minutes, but it was a case of mistaken identity with regards to the home player, as it had been Calum Butcher who had tangled with the Dutchman.

United striker Nadir Ciftci, who might have been punished following his reaction to a bruising challenge by Hoops skipper Scott Brown which sparked the two dismissals, scored with a penalty in first-half stoppage time after Connolly appeared to go down easily under pressure from Anthony Stokes.

Three minutes after the break United defender Paul Dixon was sent off for blocking a goalbound drive by Leigh Griffiths, with Terrors keeper Radoslaw Cierzniak saving the consequent penalty by the Hoops striker, who made amends in the 71st minute when he headed in a Stefan Johansen cross.

Deila referred to his winger Derk Boerrigter who was retrospectively banned for two games after being found guilty of simulation against St Johnstone at the start of the season, although he appeared unaware that McDiarmid Park striker Brian Graham had also been suspended for the same offence this season, when asked about Connolly.

The Norwegian said: “It is a dive and hopefully it will be the same rules for everybody.

“We are the only team this season in the league to have a suspension for diving, Derk Boerrigter.

“I said at the time that it was no problem because that is the line that will be taken by everyone.

“I don’t think anybody has had it since then. I accept that people make mistakes. But if we have a rule where people look at things afterwards then it has to be the other way around also.

“I don’t see anybody else getting suspensions. I can’t understand that we are the worst at this in the league and nobody else is doing anything.

“People make mistakes - no problem. But it make it right afterwards.”

This was meant to be the first of a three-match series between the two clubs, who meet in the Scottish League Cup final next Sunday before a Scottish Premiership meeting the following week, but now a replay at Celtic Park will take place on March 18, with Johansen now suspended.

The Parkhead boss stated: “We will see what we have to do” regarding appealing Van Dijk’s sending-off and added: “I have looked at some pictures in the dressing room but it is hard to see what happened.

“Virgil just said there was a tackle and suddenly somebody was holding his legs. There was some kicking of each other to get off each other. It was nothing.”

United boss Jackie McNamara dismissed Deila’s accusation of a Connolly dive, saying: “I don’t think he dived. I think he caught him by his thigh.

“Outside the box it is a free-kick, yes, inside the box it might be soft but it is a penalty.

The former Celtic defender claimed not to have seen the melee which saw Paton and Van Dijk sent off but will appeal the midfielder’s red card, claiming he thinks Thomson should have been stricter on Brown.

He said: “Paul feels a bit hard done for being sent off for nothing. He wasn’t involved in the incident.

“I think the referee should have dealt with the original challenge.

“I thought it was a bad challenge which sparked the whole thing off and it went unnoticed.

“I thought it was a two-footed challenge off the deck, it was a bad one but if didn’t get dealt with properly.”