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Poor refereeing overshadows Scottish Cup quarter-final clash

Celtic FC

Referee Craig Thompson was the centre of attention at Tannadice in the 1-1 draw between Celtic and Dundee United.

This game was ruined as a footballing spectacle by some poor decision-making from the officials, which had a heavy effect on the outcome.

After such a hectic fixture schedule and having to play so long against Inter Milan with 10 men, the worst thing that could have happened to Celtic is a sending off.

In the 10th minute, Scott Brown put in a questionable high challenge that was followed by Nadir Ciftci – who has just had a two-game ban overruled – appearing to kick the Celtic captain in the head. Nothing given.

Virgil van Dijk and Paul Paton then both received red cards for the melee that occurred in the aftermath despite the incident happening between van Dijk and Calum Butcher. Regardless of who was involved, the decision to send them off seemed unnecessary.

Referee Craig Thompson had no sight of the incident as played continued and only dismissed the two players after a long discussion with his linesman.

The next bout of poor refereeing came from Thompson alone, after Ryan Dow and Anthony Stokes hit the post for their respective teams just before the break.

The referee was called into action when Aidan Connolly made a driving run into the box, drawing a tackle from Stokes, but the young winger looked to have dived with no touch from Stokes and was awarded a penalty.

Ciftci, who should have been dismissed in the 10th minute, fired the ball into the bottom right corner to compound the poor officiating in the first half.

Two minutes into the second half, Thompson was at the heart of the action again. On this occasion the third red card of the game was given to Paul Dixon for a handball in the box that he would have done well to get out the way of.

Leigh Griffiths – whose shot was blocked for the penalty – then saw his spot kick well saved by Radosław Cierzniak with a leaping dive to his left as the Hoops remained behind.

Ronny Deila decided to replace Stokes, who made little impact for the most part, with John Guidetti just after the hour mark, stepping up the search for an equaliser.

The tactical changes that needed to happen paid off and Griffiths levelled ten minutes later with a fantastic header after a sublime ball into the box from Stefan Johansen.

These teams will meet a further three times in the next two weeks with a League Cup final, Scottish Cup replay and league game to be played.

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