Ronny Deila hopes Josh Meekings can play in Cup final

Ronny Deila hopes Inverness CT defender Josh Meekings is successful on Thursday in challenging the ban that would rule him out of the Scottish Cup final.

Meekings will contest the one-game ban "offered" to him by the Scottish FA's compliance officer for a supposedly deliberate handball to prevent Celtic's Leigh Griffiths scoring in Sunday's semi-final at Hampden.

"It doesn't help us if someone gets banned," said Celtic's Norwegian boss.

"I don't think he did it on purpose."

The Scottish FA's disciplinary process
The SFA's compliance officer (Tony McGlennan) issues a "notice of complaint" to a player detailing the alleged breach of the disciplinary rule or rules and making a "fixed suspension offer" (typically a one or two-match ban)
The player can accept the "offer", simply by not replying to the complaint by the time notified in the notice of complaint, or can inform the compliance officer that he rejects the "offer"
If he rejects the proposed ban, he can argue his case at a principal hearing heard by a three-man independent panel that does not include the compliance officer

Celtic were angered that neither the referee Steven McLean or additional assistant referee Alan Muir penalised Meekings for the incident, when the Inverness player's arm blocked an apparently goal-bound header by Griffiths from crossing the line.

On Monday they wrote to the SFA seeking "to understand the circumstances of what went on and why such an obvious error was made".

Speaking of the incident after his team had beaten Dundee to move eight points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership on Wednesday evening, Deila said: "The ball was going very quickly.

"It was reaction, but it was a clear handball, a red card and a penalty.

Steven McLean
Referee Steven McLean arrives at Hampden for the hearing

"I hope that he will play, the best players should always play in the final.

"I don't think it is a positive thing to ban anybody."

Inverness and Meekings are at Hampden on Thursday afternoon for a disciplinary panel hearing to contest the retrospective one-match ban issued on Tuesday by the compliance officer Tony McGlennan.

The move by McGlennan has been criticised by Fifa's head of referees Jim Boyce, who said he could not believe "that they're going to suspend a player for a handball".

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