Ex-referee demands retrospective red card for Celtic’s Liel Abada after ‘blatant cheating’ over Rangers dive

The Hoops winger was cautioned for a simulation after going to ground too easily under Ben Davies’ challenge.
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Former Scottish FA referee Des Roache insists Liel Abada’s yellow card for diving against Rangers in the Viaplay Cup final should be upgraded to a red card offence.

The Celtic winger, who was introduced as a late substitute during the 2-1 victory at Hampden Park, received a caution by referee Nick Walsh for simulation when he threw himself to the ground on the edge of the penalty area under Ben Davies’ challenge.

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The Israeli had few complaints after picking up the booking but the incident left retired official Roache furious at the player’s attempt to con Walsh into awarding a penalty.

Celtic's Liel Abada in action against Rangers in the Viaplay Cup final.  (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Celtic's Liel Abada in action against Rangers in the Viaplay Cup final.  (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Celtic's Liel Abada in action against Rangers in the Viaplay Cup final. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

He is now calling for instant dismissals to be the new form of punishment for diving in a bid to stamp it out of the game completely.

Roache told Grosvenor Sport: “It’s a bug-bear of mine and I will be consistent. He should be given a retrospective red card for cheating. He knew what he was doing and you could see how sheepish he looked when Nick Walsh brought out the yellow card, which is the current tarriff for this offence.

“I really hate simulation and I think the only way you are going to get ride of blatant cheating is to make it a red card offence.”

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Meanwhile, Celtic could be without up to SEVEN players during the Asian Cup next year after dates were set for the delayed tournament, which was postponed after host nation China pulled out due to Covid restrictions. The event will now be held in Qatar between January 12 and Februday 10, 2024.

That could impact Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou who faces the prospects of returning from next season’s top-flight winter break without a host of first-team stars, with the SPFL already confirming the Premiership will enter a two-week hiatus from January 3-19.

League action will resume shortly after the Asian Cup has started, meaning players such as League Cup final hero Kyogo Furuhashi, Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda could all be in contention for Japan call-ups. Tomoki Iwata and Yuki Kobayashi could also be involved, while Aaron Mooy is expected to feature for Australia and Oh Hyeon-gyu is likely to feature for South Korea.

That would leave the Parkhead club with a severely depleted squad, but the Scottish champions could request fixture postponements through Rule G7 of the SPFL rulebook.

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It states that clubs have the right to request a re-arrangement of “any official match where three or more of its players who would otherwise have participated in such match are unavailable through international selection and, following receipt of such an application, the board may postpone and rearrange the relevant official match in accordance with rule G3.”

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