Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes says he was sent off during his sides Scottish Cup semi-final defeat for gesturing to Celtic fans singing a sectarian song he has had aimed at him “a hundred times”.
McInnes followed assistant Tony Docherty – and two of his players – in being dismissed during the 3-0 defeat.
The former Rangers player added: “I had let it go the first time but I shouldnt react and Ill take my punishment. I was wrong to do so, I should be better than that.”
I was wrong to react to sectarian chants, says Dons boss McInnes
“Ive heard that song a hundred times aimed at me so I think frustration from the game has played a part. Itll be interesting to see if everybody gets punished.”
Speaking to BBC Scotland, the Aberdeen manager said he thought a warning from fourth official Nick Walsh would have sufficed.
“Hes obviously deemed it serious enough to bring the referee over,” he added. “I accept that, Ill apologise for that and any punishment going my way, Ill take it on the chin.”
The semi-final was goalless when Dominic Ball was sent off for a second booking after an aerial challenge on Celtics Ryan Christie, who left the field on a stretcher after a lengthy stoppage.
James Forrest then put Celtic ahead and Aberdeens Lewis Ferguson was dismissed for a challenge on Tom Rogic shortly before the Australian scored the third goal.
But McInnes questioned both of Balls bookings, liking the aerial challenge to one by Celtics Dedryck Boyata on Gary Mackay-Steven during Aberdeens 1-0 League Cup final defeat in December.
“The sending-off changes everything, absolutely everything,” McInnes said. “Any time you go down to 10 men against a good team like Celtic, I think it is pivotal.
“The first challenge, his first foul in the game, Jonny Hayes has actually kicked the ball out the park. The second one, its a difficult one. I didnt see a flailing arm or an elbow, I just think its a clash of heads.
“Its disappointing that for those two offences that Dom Ball then gets sent off. I think its extremely harsh.”
Dominic Ball has thrown his left leg and taken the player, so hes deserved that yellow card. Youre then walking a tightrope. When he sees that challenge on, he should just not go for it.
I think Derek deserves the support from the board. But two players being sent off and the manager and assistant being sent to the stand, is unacceptable. That is worth a conversation between chairman and manager about the lack of discipline that Aberdeen showed in the second half. Its not acceptable.
The Irishman was in good spirits after watching this Celtic side put in their most impressive 90 minutes for him since he has been back in the role. The Bhoys ran out 3-0 winners with Aberdeen resorting to archaic tactics to try and compete.
There was a lot of pressure on the interim manager before today’s game with many speculating that had he lost the game there would be no chance of a permanent Celtic spot.
Six new players for the starting line up is no easy task for any side and so Lawwell, not to mention whoever is sitting in the dugout, have got some serious work to do if they are to achieve what Nicholas wants.
However, Neil Lennon has also revealed he has spoken with Dermot Desmond who has assured the former Celtic captain he has made no approach for any other manager at this time and any talk of names being mentioned is nonsense.
Neil Lennon says he's spoken to Dermott Desmond who said any speculation about other mangers being spoken to is nonsense.
A whole host of names have been mentioned for the vacant position but it would appear Dermot looks set to hand Neil Lennon the reigns if he does win the Scottish Cup