Celtic and Rangers are set to meet at Hampden Park last month in the semi finals of the 2023 Scottish Cup but one Hoops’ star should be suspended for the fixture, according to a former grade one referee.
Reo Hatate was accused of simulation in Celtic’s 3-0 quarter fianl win over Hearts at Tynecastle after throwing himself to the ground despite no contact from Jambos midfielder Orestis Kiomourtzoglou. Kevin Clancy, the referee for that fixture, took no action at the time.
Now, former ref Steve Conroy has spoken publiccly about the incident and believes that Hatate should recieve a retrospective ban and miss the semi-final match with Rangers. The 56-year old even went as far as to accuse the Japanese star of ‘blatant cheating’ regarding the alleged dive.
He said: “We have advocated for some time that there should be a retrospective red card issued – and therefore a two-match suspension – for what was blatant cheating. The anomaly is that VAR can’t get involved because diving is not an ordering-off offence.
“Reo Hatate has been a terrific player in Scottish football but that was bad. It’s a blight and it’s horrible to see and I don’t know why retrospective action is not being taken by the SFA for these offences – they seem to have stopped doing it.”
Introduced in 2011, before the arrival of VAR, the Scottish FA rule 201 gives a disciplinary panel the power to impose two-game bans for acts of simulation missed by the match officials. That would mean that Hatate is supsended for the semi-final against Rangers and the final if Celtic were to make it there.
Unlike in the English football structure, where bookings and suspensions carry across all competitions, any ban would only apply to Scottish Cup fixtures so the player would still be available for Scottish Premiership matches. Down south, if a player recieves a booking in a league or cup competition it carries over their next domestic fixtures regarldess of competiton.