Pundits debate Bitton red card query in Hearts vs Celtic after 'blatant' handball

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Pundits debate Bitton red card query in Hearts vs Celtic after 'blatant' handball
Pundits debate Bitton red card query in Hearts vs Celtic after 'blatant' handball

BBC pundits Richard Foster and Michael Stewart reckon Celtic stand-in skipper Nir Bitton should've been cautioned for a 'blatant' handball against Hearts.

But the pair agreed it would've been harsh if he was sent off after being booked for a challenge on Cammy Devlin - which neither thought deserved a yellow.

Bitton escaped an early bath when whistler John Beaton awarded a free-kick for handball when he blocked a a Nathan Atkinson pass with his arm in the second-half.

Beaton was quick to make the decision but moved on with play without penalising Bitton further.

Speaking on Sportscene, Stewart reckoned Bitton should've been booked for the handball offence but not for the first incident as he claimed Beaton got the yellow-card decisions the 'wrong way round'.

He said: "We're talking about so many handball incidents and that is a blatant handball, there's no doubt about it.

"But I don't think the first should have been a yellow card.

"I think [John Beaton] has got them round the wrong way.

"Bitton should've been booked for one, but it wasn't the one he got."

Partick Thistle defender Foster agreed Bitton should've been cautioned for the handball but insisted the midfielder had 'done nothing wrong' when shown a booking earlier in the match.

However, having already been booked, Foster suggested Bitton should've been sent off even though it would've been harsh.

He explained: "By the rules I think yes (he should) - deliberate handball is a yellow card.

"For the first yellow, I actually don't think he does anything wrong there.

"He's trying to actually pull himself out of the way and the Hearts player goes down and it's a booking."

"This is a deliberate handball. For me, this is definitely a booking and he's got to go."

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