JOHN Kennedy, the Celtic assistant manager, last night described the SFA’s decision to cite Ryan Christie for grabbing the genitals of Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos as “crazy” and revealed he will be astonished if the player is punished.

Christie was issued with a fast track notice of complaint by compliance officer Clare Whyte last week following an incident in the Ladbrokes Premiership game at Parkhead last month and is facing a two game suspension.

The playmaker has been charged under Disciplinary Rule 200 – where a challenge is deemed to endanger the safety of an opponent or use excessive force or brutality – and a hearing will be held at Hampden this afternoon.

He will miss the William Hill Scottish Cup game against Partick Thistle at Firhill and a league match against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park if found guilty.

But Kennedy, speaking from Dubai where the Glasgow club are on a warm weather training break during the winter shutdown, stated he will be surprised if Christie, who had to undergo surgery after the Rangers game and is expected to be out for another fortnight, is banned.

“I find it very surprising,” he said. “I have seen these situations before, what they are trying to accuse him of. But to be involved in the game and somebody goes by you, to accuse him of trying to grab him by the genitals is crazy.

“Ryan is not that type of player for a start. Ryan has genuinely gone in and he (Morelos) goes by him. What naturally happens is you try to grab something. It just so happens that it was what it was.

“If you are static and you know where you are, if you are standing beside somebody marking them and you make a play for that area, then that is pretty obvious. But, again, you have to take the person into consideration here. Ryan is not that type of player at all.

“If you put it into the context of the game and what is happening at that time, somebody has gone past him. When that happens you try to grab hold of a shirt of whatever it might be to make some kind of contact to knock him off balance and just so happened to catch him there.

“At the time, nothing was made of it. Morelos didn’t make anything of it to Ryan or anybody else about him. That speaks volumes in itself.”

Kennedy added: “I would be astounded if he gets found guilty of it and they follow through with the charge. If that is the case then there will be numerous cases throughout the season where somebody grabs or accidentally touches somebody.

“You can see with the speed of the game your first reaction is sometimes to grab the first thing that goes by you. That is what happened. Ryan is not that type of player and I will be very, very, surprised, astonished actually, if anything comes of it.”

Kennedy is hopeful that Scotland internationalist Christie, who had an operation to repair a burst blood vessel in his groin after Celtic’s defeat by Rangers, will be playing soon.

“He had a little setback, but he obviously had that dealt with quickly so hopefully it won’t keep him out for too long,” he said. “He will miss the bulk of the week here, but hopefully once we get back he won’t miss too many games. It will be touch and go for the first game, but it will be weeks rather than months. Hopefully he will be okay.”