Daryl Fordyce and Stephen Carson have both blasted the sending off that has denied Andy Waterworth a chance to feature in Saturday’s Co-operative Insurance Cup decider.
The striker scored the decisive winner against Cliftonville at Solitude on Tuesday night but a second yellow card for his celebrations rules him out of the glamour game.
Waterworth was Glentoran’s goalscoring hero in the semi-final win over Portadown and he’s a man in form after scoring three goals in two matches.
However, the Glens will now have to win the trophy without the former Hamilton striker.
“I feel for Andy, big time,” said his team-mate Fordyce. “He scored the goal that put us into the final and he’s hit a bit of form after scoring twice on Saturday.
“It’s been a very stop-start season for him and the team but he’s been our best player for the last few games and we all feel for him.
“We ran behind him near the fans and there was no jumping on the fence. The fans were behind the fence and we were in front of it celebrating the goal.
“I just think it is a stupid rule, taking the passion out of the players when they score a goal. You are playing at Solitude with eight minutes to go and you score the winner. You will react to that. After the game it’s easy to say ‘I shouldn’t have went to the fans’ but after you have scored it’s a natural response. Andy was happy to score the winning goal but I looked at him on the coach after the game and you could tell he was upset.
“Every player wants to play in cup finals. I’m sure Andy felt he could have made a difference on Saturday so he will be hurting.”
Coleraine winger Carson said: “It’s a crazy scenario. This is part-time football but it appears players can’t celebrate off the pitch. It has happened to Darren (Boyce) a few times and he was booked. I think too many red cards being handed out this season is spoiling the game for so many people.
“Referees, players and managers need to show more common sense and more courtesy to each other. For me as a player, I would rather see Andy Waterworth play on Saturday.”