Rangers could have ended up facing nine men v Celtic, former ref claims
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Rangers could have ended up facing nine men v Celtic, former ref claims

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has backed Bobby Madden’s decision to send off Nir Bitton for his rugby tackle of Rangers star Alfredo Morelos on Saturday.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon vehemently denied it was a sending off after the game but it appears that the only people who think the Israeli should have stayed on the pitch are currently sitting poolside in Dubai.

Duffy lunges to bring down Kent (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Gallagher doesn’t buy Lennon’s defence that Kris Ajer was going to deny Morelos a shot at goal, meaning the Rangers talisman had a clear goalscoring opportunity.

“I was watching live and I thought red card” Gallagher said [Sky Sports]

“Once Morelos gets past Bitton he’s got a run on goal. The law states denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, meaning can he get a shot away at goal. I would suggest Morelos would get a shot away long before Ajer gets across.

“He did not have to make that challenge, once you make it has to be a red card.”

The former top flight ref thinks Celtic got away with another one later in the game when Shane Duffy scythed down Ryan Kent in the middle of the pitch, admitting it “must be bordering on red.”

Duffy’s lunge sparked the obligatory Old Firm melee with Gallagher thinking the Londonderry-born defender was lucky to escape with only a yellow card

“This is as high a tariff yellow card as you get,” he added.

“It must be bordering on red, not so much for the first leg but the fact he follows through. The ref has seen that, he’s just sent off Bitton, he needs to be assured that it really is pushed over the boundary but as it was right on it, he gave Duffy the benefit of the doubt.

Gallagher during his days refereeing (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

“As I said earlier, another day another referee that could have been a red card.”

Some Rangers fans even thought the Gers deserved a penalty in the Old Firm win after an apparent foul on Kemar Roofe