You”re guilty! Ledley says McCulloch deserved his red card
Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley insistedLee McCulloch was guilty of a “blatant elbow” to earn the red card thatcould have ruled him out of Wednesday”s Old Firm clash.
Ledley admitted, however, that he could understand why Rangers had launched an appeal to ensure McCulloch was able to feature in the potentially pivotal derby.
Off you go: Lee McCulloch leaves the pitch after being sent off against St Mirren
The Ibrox player was ordered off by referee Steven McLean following a clash with Graham Carey in the champions” 2-1 defeat to St Mirren on Christmas Eve.
Yet he is free to play at Parkhead this evening – and in the January 2 meeting with Motherwell – as the festive break means an SFA judicial panel will not be able to deliver an appeal verdict until next Thursday at the earliest.
The situation has sparked controversy, with Ledley offering his opinion that it is a case of Rangers playing the system.
“You can understand why they are going to appeal,” said Ledley. “You need your best players for the game.
Free to play: McCulloch will face Celtic on Wednesday
“Obviously you can see it was a blatant elbow but most teams would have appealed anyway.”
Asked if he was surprised the Christmas and New Year holidays had created such a delay in terms of an appeal judgment, Ledley said: “Yeah, maybe. I think everyone could see it was an elbow. I knew right away that it was a straight red and I thought the referee did well to see it, as well. But it is football and, hopefully, they can sort it out as soon as possible.”
McCulloch could end up having a standard two-match ban for violent conduct increased if the judicial panel ultimately decides it was a “frivolous” appeal.
Celtic boss Neil Lennon took a pragmatic view of the situation as he declined to point any accusatory fingers at opposite number Ally McCoist.
“It”s not the first time a team has used that (appeal),” said Lennon.
“I”m sure it won”t be the last. I can understand a manager doing that. Do I have a problem with it Only because they”re playing us!
“It”s not for me to comment on whether they (the SFA) have to look at it.
“There will be a lot of people unhappy if McCulloch starts having been sent off at the weekend.”