Celtic captain Scott Brown has accused Dundee United forward Nadir Ciftci of “blatantly” kicking him in the head and Aidan Connolly of diving in the fall-out from Sunday’s controversial William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final clash at Tannadice.
The exciting 1-1 draw produced three red cards – one of which was a case of mistaken identity – and two penalties, one of which was saved.
United boss Jackie McNamara claimed Brown’s hefty challenge on Ciftci in the ninth minute sparked the rammy which ended with Hoops defender Virgil van Dijk and Paul Paton being red carded by Craig Thomson at the behest of his assistant Graham Chambers.
The United midfielder was mistaken for team mate Calum Butcher who had tangled on the ground with the Dutchman and the Tayside club have confirmed their intention to appeal the dismissal.
Speaking at Lesser Hampden where he was publicising the Scottish League Cup final between the two teams at Hampden Park on Sunday – they will meet in the Scottish Cup replay and the Scottish Premiership in the immediate two games after that – the Scotland skipper said: “I think it was a great tackle. The referee is five yards away and he had no problem with it.
“The linesman was 10 yards away and two of them had great views and you can clearly see on television that I have won the ball.
“I was kicked in the head (by Ciftci). You can blatantly see that. We will see what happens with that. At the time I didn’t know who it was. I felt a boot against my face.
“There was so much going on at the time, I didn’t know who it was until I watched it again afterwards.”
Ciftci scored from the spot on the stroke of half-time after Connolly was adjudged to have been fouled by Celtic forward Anthony Stokes in the box.
The mayhem continued three minutes after the break when United defender Paul Dixon was dismissed for blocking a goal-bound drive by Leigh Griffiths with his arm.
United keeper Radoslaw Cierzniak, who had a fine game, saved the consequent penalty by the Hoops striker, who made amends in the 71st minute when he headed in a Stefan Johansen cross.
Parkhead manager Ronny Deila accused Connolly of diving to win the penalty, a view with which his captain concurred.
“It was a blatant dive,” said Brown.
“I was close by. Anthony put his leg in but you can see that he has pulled his leg away before the lad has gone down.
“He played it really well. I will give him that.”
Brown would not say if Connolly should face retrospective punishment but pointed back to Celtic midfielder Derk Boerrigter’s two-match ban for simulation at the start of the season.
He said: “We have had a player who did that at St Johnstone and he got a two-match ban so I think it was dealt with rightly.
“You don’t want to see people cheating whether it helps you or not. It is not a nice part of the game.”
The former Hibernian midfielder, however, believes the introduction of video evidence at games would have cleared a lot of the confusion up.
“I think yesterday would have been ideal for it,” he said.
“We stopped the game for four or five minutes and it was the wrong decision that Paton got sent off.
“If we had watched that back we would have clearly seen who it was.
“It wouldn’t stop the game every two minutes, (only with) big decisions like that. We definitely need that.”
Brown insists there is no bad blood between the clubs and Sunday’s final on a newly-laid Hampden pitch – and the two following meetings – will each start with a clean slate.
He said: “It was both teams wanting to win and I think that is good for the Scottish game.
“As soon as you step on to the park it is a clean slate. The pitch at Hampden will help us. They are relaying that now so it should be in great shape.”