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Bad Bhoy Griffiths hit with a Uefa charge for provoking Blues fans

 

By Graham Luney

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has been thrown in the dock by Uefa and could be hit with a suspension for 'provoking' Linfield fans at Windsor Park on Friday night.

The Hoops hero has been charged with "provoking spectators" after the Champions League qualifier, while the Blues have been charged with the "throwing of objects" and a "field invasion".

All charges will be dealt with by Uefa's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary body on Thursday, and their announcement serves as a warning to the players to behave responsibly in the second leg at Parkhead tomorrow night.

Missiles, including a bottle, were thrown at Griffiths during the 2-0 victory for Brendan Rodgers' side, while Blues fans reacted angrily when the Scotland international made a 5-1 gesture with his hands, referring to an Old Firm win over Rangers at Ibrox earlier this year.

After the game he tied a scarf to a post in front of the Kop Stand reserved for about 200 Celtic supporters.

The former Hibernian player previously did the same thing at Ibrox in front of the celebrating visiting section.

Griffiths was booked by Spanish referee Alejandro Hernandez as he dodged coins and bottles while trying to take a 64th-minute corner. He had already cleared some missiles off the pitch before picking up a glass bottle.

The 26-year-old was substituted, but replacement Jonny Hayes was also the target of missiles when taking corners at the same side of the pitch.

Celtic have also been charged with "improper conduct of the team" after picking up five or more bookings.

The Hoops are automatically charged with "improper conduct" when they receive five or more bookings in a European game. Jozo Simunovic, Scott Brown, Tom Rogic and Stuart Armstrong were also cautioned.

One Linfield fan ran onto the pitch before being apprehended, while others threw missiles and clashed with police and stewards. Officers with riot gear and dogs lined up in front of the section from where the missiles had earlier been thrown.

Uefa's charge confirms that Griffiths' yellow card will not be revoked.

The regulations on player misconduct state that the striker can expect a suspension of one match or longer if he is found guilty.

Uefa's announcement came after Police Scotland urged fans to focus on football ahead of tomorrow's return leg at Celtic Park.

Superintendent Craig Smith said a "robust policing plan" had been put in place following co-operation with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

He added: "Anyone who is intent in causing disorder or hate crime can expect to be arrested by police. Let's keep this match focused on the football."

Linfield have urged their 1,500 travelling supporters to "do nothing to harm or damage the name of the club you are supporting".

Rodgers expressed concern for player safety after the highly-charged first-leg encounter, which had been moved back to avoid clashing with Orange Order parades on July 12.

Linfield are reviewing footage from the game and stated "there will be serious and lasting consequences for anyone involved."

Meanwhile, Celtic's bitter rivals Rangers have been lending a helping hand to the Blues this week by allowing David Healy and his side to use their Murray Park training centre. The Linfield players trained at the venue yesterday and will use the facility again today.

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