NTCHAM’S A SINNER AS SAINTS HOLD CELTS
Bren: Ref had howler
BRENDAN RODGERS slammed referee Andrew Dallas after 10-man Celtic were held to a draw by St Mirren in Paisley.
Midfielder Olivier Ntcham was sent off for two bookable offences as Oran Kearney got his
Buddies managerial career off to a flier.
The Celtic boss insisted the French midfielder did not deserve to walk as he should never have received a second yellow card.
Rodgers also felt that the communication levels between all four officials left a lot to be desired.
When asked how he felt the officials performed, he said: “Not very good to be honest.
“I never like to focus too much on the referees but for both teams I didn’t think any of the four officials were very good.
“I don’t know if it’s a mark of all the attention that’s around them. There were lots of incidents they got wrong.
“The sending-off for me is not a yellow card.
“If you watch it again the first one is a booking and we take that.
“Before the second one there is an incident when Olivier makes contact with the ball and wins the ball but the referee gives a free-kick against us.
“Then when you see it in the corner Olivier is running across to block the ball up the line and the St Mirren player is falling over as he plays it.
“Olivier slides but doesn’t have contact with the player.
“So from that – and the fact it’s in the corner makes it lively – then the ref falls for it and he gets a second yellow.
“For me it wasn’t a second yellow or a sending-off.
“I don’t think there was a good one (official) between them all this evening.
“Listen, it’s simple, I don’t think they were good. We are speaking about them and that lets people see there has been indecision.
“There has been a spotlight on the refs and I don’t want to increase that.
“Yeah – it was just a poor demonstration of officiating.
“I haven’t spoken to them, not as yet. There were a few decisions.
“I thought Tom Rogic fouled the St Mirren player but he got on the ball and ran away. Then Tom got booked for something ridiculous.
“I will focus on the team and think ‘Okay, with 10 v 11 how can we change it?’
“We put all the risk into the game. We put a winger to right-back, put another striker in and played 4-3-2 and tried to do everything to win the game but we didn’t.
“St Mirren have just brought in a new manager so were always going to make it difficult for us.
“We didn’t start the game great but once we organised ourselves better things improved.
“Just before the sending-off we started to find the gaps. After Olivier went off it didn’t change too much – if anything we dominated even more after that moment.
“The story was we couldn’t quite get the goal.”
Rodgers was also delighted Leigh Griffiths had signed a new deal and added: “It’s brilliant for the club and him.
“He can get to a level of fitness and availability and hopefully back to scoring goals. The supporters love him and we all love him.”
Griffiths almost snatched a win at the death but his effort was ruled offside.
And Kearney, taking charge of his first match since his switch from Coleraine, said: “It’s a massive point, one we’re delighted to have.
“We wanted a performance first and foremost and I’m delighted with the manner the players have gone about their business. That was key.
“My heart was in my mouth when Griffiths stuck the ball in the net late on – I won’t lie.
“We had put so much into the game and it would have been cruel to lose.
“The players have shown their hand now. This is the standard they have set for themselves.
“It can sometimes take three or four weeks for a new group to really show their level and what they can do. That is the expectation now and the key thing is we have to maintain this standard in the forthcoming weeks.
“I will do my bit but the players also have to demand it from themselves.”
IT’S OL OVER Ntcham sent off by Dallas last night
LATE CALL Griffiths puts the ball in the net near the end but effort is ruled offside