NTCHAM’S A SIN­NER AS SAINTS HOLD CELTS

Bren: Ref had howler

Daily Record - - FRONT PAGE - BY ANTHONY HAGGERTY

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

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