Scott Sinclair saves Celtic's unbeaten record with late penalty; Rangers beat Aberdeen

Motherwell players confront the referee after a controversial late penalty award
Ronnie Esplin

Ladbrokes Premiership: Motherwell 1 Celtic 1

MOTHERWELL boss Stephen Robinson refused to speak about another controversial Celtic penalty after the Hoops fought back to grab a late 1-1 draw at Fir Park.

The Ladbrokes Premiership leaders had beaten their hosts 2-0 in the Betred Cup final at Hampden Park on Sunday thanks to contentious spot kick awarded when Scott Sinclair he went down easily under a challenge from Cedric Kipre, who was then sent off.

Moussa Dembele slammed in the second with the penalty which the Well manager raging but it looked like the Steelmen would get a measure of revenge when, with 12 minutes remaining, Hoops right-back Mikael Lustig knocked the ball into his own net as he tried to clear a Craig Tanner free-kick.

However, with two minutes remaining, referee Willie Collum pointed to the spot after Callum McGregor went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Andy Rose.

Substitute Sinclair, jeered when he came on in the second-half, scored to extend Celtic's unbeaten domestic run to 66 games and leave the home supporters fuming.

However, this time, pointedly, Robinson said: "I am not going to talk about the decision.

"I am going to talk about the game, two good teams, both trying to win the game. Celtic had a lot of chances so did we.

"Trevor Carson was outstanding, let's talk about Allan Campbell's performance, Chris Cadden, Kieran Tierney, Scott Brown, there was some quality performances out there.

"Let's not talk about the refs. I can't control them, I can't change it.

"I am not going to make any comment on it at all."

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers was not surprised at the anger about the penalty.

He said: "They have been angry with a lot since Sunday, they seem to be angry with everything.

"Again, their keeper made a great save, we should have finished it, the ball rebounds out, the player makes an attempt to get the ball, Callum steps in front, gets his body there and he knocks him over.

"And if you look at the referees decision, he is in the perfect position to give it so yes, I thought it was a penalty.

"Of course when you are the opposition, you probably think it's not.

"The team showed their spirit, we know we can score and we should have been more clinical.

"I am really proud of the team tonight."

Rangers 3 Aberdeen  0

GRAEME Murty has challenged Rangers to live up to the standards they set against Aberdeen for the rest of the season.

The Ibrox caretaker watched his team take Aberdeen apart in a surprisingly one-sided 3-0 win at Ibrox.

James Tavernier struck twice, while Carlos Pena marked his first appearance in a month with a goal as the Light Blues' closed to within three points of the Dons.

And Murty now wants a repeat of that hungry display - starting on Sunday when they meet Derek McInnes' men at Pittodrie for part two of their double-header.

"It has to be the benchmark," said Murty. "That level of intensity, that grit, that fight and that level of quality.

"You saw all those aspects from the team tonight.

"It's a helluva standard to live up to but if you want to play in this team that's the level you need to get to."

Murty had demanded his players respond after defeats against Hamilton and Dundee.

But there was little sign of the sloppiness they showed in those games as they put in their best performance of the campaign so far.

Tavernier gave Gers the perfect start when he slotted home from the penalty spot after Greg Tansey's clumsy foul on Jason Holt after seven minutes.

Pena then tucked home his fifth goal in 10 games just before the half-hour mark, with Tavernier sealing victory 20 minutes from time with a close-range finish.

The right-back was handed the sponsor's man of the match prize but Murty made special mention of youngster Ross McCrorie after asking him to fill an unfamiliar anchor role in his midfield diamond.

"In the big games you are looking for the big characters and I didn't think anyone stood up any bigger than a young lad called Ross McCrorie," said Murty.

"For a man of his tender years to put in that kind of performance in a position he's not too familiar with was exceptional. I thought he was outstanding."

McInnes - who insists he is happy to stay put at Pittodrie amid links to the Ibrox vacancy - was left furious with his team as they failed to match their own high standards.

But the Dons boss has promised it will be a different story come the weekend.

However, he will have to do with Ryan Christie, who was sent-off late on after collecting two bookings, while Gary Mackay-Steven is also a doubt after picking up a knock.

McInnes said: "I expect a more complete performance on Sunday. I expect us to impose ourselves far better than we did tonight.

"I've seen us losing headers inches above strikers, I've seen us not competing for second balls in the middle of the park.

'I thought we were negligent and that is a complete right across the board. We win together and lose together.

"Ryan has to learn. He got himself sent off foolishly. Now we're without him for Sunday. He suffers and we suffer as well."



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