By James Black
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed his fury at the decision to award Hibs a penalty during his side’s 4-2 League Cup semi-final win – calling it “two poor decisions” from the referee and his assistant.
Kevin Clancy pointed to the spot after an hour at Hampden when Dedryck Boyata appeared to bring Martin Boyle down inside the box – replays suggested it wasn’t a foul – and Anthony Stokes fired the penalty beyond Craig Gordon.
Clancy took advice from assistant before awarding the spot-kick and they seemed to be in agreement before the referee pointed to the spot.
The goal gave Hibs renewed motivation that they could end the Hoops’ 59-game unbeaten run before Moussa Dembele’s second-half double – added to Mikael Lustig’s first-half brace – killed off any hopes of a revival.
Rodgers admits he was stunned at the decision to give the penalty against his side and believes both the referee and his assistant got it wrong.
“My initial reaction at the time was Dedryck recovered well,” Rodgers said at full-time, as quoted by STV’s website.
“The boy is running frontal with the ball and Dedryck comes in with his toe and the ball is misdirected.
“So it’s two poor decisions, one by the referee who was on his way back and then he’s looking for help from his linesman and he’s obviously facing it.
“How he gave the penalty I’ll never know.”
The win now sets up a potential Old Firm League Cup final with Rangers due to play Motherwell tomorrow in the other semi-final.
Rodgers’ side now face a trip to Pittodrie for a top of the table clash with Aberdeen.
Both sides are level on points at the top of the Scottish Premiership and a win could see the defending champions start to break free from the rest of the pack.
In other Celtic news, Chris Sutton has issued a stern warning to the Hoops about their upcoming fixtures.