CELTIC first-team coach Alan Thompson claimed former Sunderland upstart El-Hadji Diouf sparked the mayhem which engulfed last night's 1-0 win over Rangers in their Scottish Cup fifth-round replay at Parkhead.
Mark Wilson's goal just after the break was enough to beat the visitors in an ill-tempered game which saw the Ibrox men end up with nine men - and then have Diouf dismissed after the final whistle.
Rangers midfielder Steven Whittaker was sent off by referee Calum Murray in the 35th minute after picking up his second booking for a foul on Emilio Izaguirre.
A spat ensued in the tunnel as the players went in at the interval and then, in second-half injury-time, Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra was sent off after picking up his second caution.
Seconds after the final whistle, as Hoops manager Neil Lennon and Rangers assistant Ally McCoist had to be pulled apart by the technical areas, the unruly Diouf, booked earlier, was booked and red-carded for approaching Murray.
However, Thompson claimed the night of mayhem could be traced back to when Diouf and Lennon clashed on the touchline following the dismissal of Whittaker.
He said: "Our physio had gone on when Steven Whittaker went off and Diouf shouldered him.
"Neil saw it and it has gone on from there. That instigated everything.
"I am not blaming anyone, I am just telling you what Neil saw.
"I didn't see anything at half-time.
"But in terms of Neil and Ally at the end something was said that wasn't taken the right way.
"They have players who play on the edge but our players did as we asked from them.
"We are delighted with the performance, discipline-wise and football-wise.
"We picked up three yellow cards out of everything that went on.
"We asked the players to remain disciplined and they did what we asked.
"Any team that gets three red cards in one game - I think that will be looked at.”
But Rangers boss Walter Smith insisted: “He (Diouf) is an easy target for criticism and he gets himself wound up a little bit as he has done at the end of the game because it was a frustrating evening for us to see two players sent off.
“That’s the way he is.
“I am not so sure we committed many more fouls than Celtic.
“I felt Whittaker’s first yellow was soft although I wouldn’t have argued with the second.
“Obviously I was disappointed with that.
“Madjid Bougherra’s first yellow card was one, the second one was clearly not.
“He slid in and clearly takes the ball and the Celtic player’s momentum takes him over the top.
“From my own point of view I feel the referee got carried away with the crowd’s reaction on both these occasions.”