In January the SFA handed Ryan Christie a bizarre three match ban- last night the Celtic star bailed them out with a wonder goal in Serbia to book a place at the finals of Euro 2020 next summer.
The cash strapped SFA are due to receive a direct payment of around £9m from UEFA for qualifying with their Commercial Department- which hasn’t found a sponsor for the Scottish Cup- coming to life to cash in on seven months of deals on the back of ending a 23 year wait to reach a major final.
In January Christie was cited for an incident in the December Glasgow derby at Celtic Park which was apparently missed by referee Kevin Clancy but not the Compliance Officer.
Following the final match of 2018, The Sun reported:
The Celts playmaker has been charged under the Disciplinary Rule 200, which includes where a challenge or tackle that ‘endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality’.
The SFA has fast tracked the notice of complaint from the derby match and the case while be heard in the new year on Monday, January 6.
The details of the rule allegedly breached reads: “Where any one of the sending off offences of (A1) serious foul play, (A2) violent conduct, and (A3) spitting at an opponent or any other person is committed by a player at a match, but that sending off offence was not seen by any of the match officials at the time that it was committed.
An almost identical incident at Ibrox involving Alfredo Morelos on Christie wasn’t acted on by the SFA.
Reacting to the charge and his failed appeal, Christie told The Sun:
I first heard about my charge when my mate sent me through a screenshot. I thought it was a joke — a wind-up. I couldn’t even remember the incident, I said that to the panel.
It wasn’t until I watched the footage back that I even realised my hand had gone there. That’s what I said in my defence, as soon as a player goes past you, your first reaction is to try to get your body, or something, between them and the ball.
It just so happened my hand went there. As soon as the game was done, it wasn’t even a thought. Maybe ten seconds after that tackle it was out of my head.
Shortly after half time in Belgrade last night Christie took a pass from Callum McGregor, created space with his back to goal then drove a low shot into the net. The Serbs equalised in the 90th minute but lost 5-4 in penalty shoot-out.
Christie scored twice in the September internationals against Israel and the Czech Republic but was ruled out of the October triple header after being put in self-isolation for allegedly being a close contact of Stuart Armstrong- a claim that the player denies.