Joe Ledley has defended the challenge that saw him red carded for the first time in his career.
The Celtic midfielder was sent off in the 55th minute of Celtic’s 2-0 defeat at Hearts for a challenge on Ian Black that provoked fury on the Celtic bench.
Former Celt John Hartson and Colin Hendry in the ESPN studio were in agreement with the decision to send Ledley off with the incident analysed in great depth.
Refereeing controversies have dogged Celtic in recent weeks with Hugh Dallas at the centre of attention.
During the cover up of Dougie Dougie’s lies at the Dundee United match Dallas’s explanation can be turned round to a defence of Ledley’s tackle on Black.
Allegations that Dallas sent out an offensive email linking the pope to child abuse during his recent visit to Scotland are subject to an internal investigation by the SFA.
Defending the dangerous challenge by Dusan Pernis on Gary Hooper Dallas claimed: “Dougie, after having given the decision, then received information from the assistant referee that the goalkeeper had played the ball from the better position that the assistant referee was in.
“There is a really good replay of the incident from the offside line camera, which clearly shows the ball changing direction – and that was something that Dougie did not enjoy at the time.”
If making contact with the ball is the only criteria that matters then Ledley was wrongly red-carded. The Celtic midfielder clearly made contact with the ball.
In his attempt to excuse Dougie Dougie and claim that the right decision was reached Dallas decided to overlook the dangerous challenge made by the goalkeeper which ended with Hooper grounded.
Not surprisingly after the explanation that Dallas gave for the Hooper incident Ledley took a similar view of his challenge on Black.
The Welshman told The Sun: “I couldn’t believe it when the ref sent me off. I thought it was a fair challenge.
“I spoke to Ian after it and even he told me I got the ball- there was no way I went in to intentionally hurt anyone.
“I wanted to win the ball and that’s exactly what I did. That’s not the sort of player I am but it seems to have come across that way.
“A few people have said the commentaries made it sound worse than it actually was. The ball was there to be won. It was a great 50-50 and both players went for it.
“I thought I won it but it’s the referee’s decision. Maybe he saw it differently from me.
“It’s so disappointing but there’s nothing I can do about it now. I just need to deal with it.”