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Rodgers hits out at “blatant cheating” after dive costs Celtic victory against Ross County

Date Posted,April 16, 2017

Brendan Rodgers was fuming after a controversial late penalty denied Celtic a victory during their match with Ross County.

The Celtic manager claimed Ross County forward Alex Schalk had dived in the box to earn his side the spot kick in the 88th minute.

Referee Don Robertson awarded the penalty but replays of the incident show there was no contact between Schalk and nearest Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko.

Speaking to the Daily Record, the Parkhead boss said: “Erik [Sviatchenko] is nowhere near touching him and the referee’s actually in a good position, the linesman’s in a good position so to give a penalty for that was absolutely incredible.

Ross County’s Liam Boyce scores a penalty for his side (Photo: SNS Group)

“Players will do that, it’s always happened, and in particular over the last number of years you’ll see it and if you’re Jim [McIntyre] you’re delighted you get it.

“But that is blatant cheating.

“And it’s an awful, awful decision to cost us the full three points.”

Ross County players celebrate Liam Boyce’s late equaliser from the spot (Photo: Action Plus via Getty Images)

“We’re fine, we’ve seen the game through, so for the referee to cost us the three points and then miss some crucial decisions was very, very disappointing.

“We have to take it and move on to the next game.”

Staggies gaffer Jim McIntyre said he understood the frustrations of his opposite number after the decision.

The point earned by County could be crucial in ensuring the Dingwall side avoid the drop however McIntyre has admitted his team shouldn’t have been awarded the penalty.

Celtic’s Scott Brown is shown a red card for his challenge on Liam Boyce (Photo: SNS Group)

He said: “Alex is expecting contact and he’s on his way down when the defender pulls out. It’s not a penalty and I can fully understand Celtic’s anger and disappointment.

Moments after Liam Boyce slotted home the penalty Hoops skipper Scott Brown was red carded for a rash challenge on the Northern Irish frontman.

The sending off means the captain will miss the Bhoys’ crucial Scottish Cup semi-final clash with Rangers next Sunday.

Ross County’s Marcus Fraser and Celtic’s Stuart Armstrong battle for the ball (Photo: PA)

And boss Rodgers believes Brown’s disappointment with Don Robertson’s decision likely led to the midfielder seeing red.

He added: “I think Scott was a bit late in the tackle. I think he was probably a bit frustrated with the referee, for a number of incidents, not just the penalty, that he missed on him that were pretty clear.

“Scotty’s went in, he’s challenged for the ball and he’s been late.

“But the talking point of the game is the penalty.

“It’s absolutely awful to take when it costs you another win.

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