Celtic robbed after two stonewall penalties denied but Hibs boss launches bizarre ref rant

Celtic were denied two stonewall penalties as they lost their 100 per cent record at Easter Road.

With the the game poised at 1-1, first Ryan Christie was caught before Moritz Bauer was cleaned out in the Hibs box. Neither the referee or his assistants deemed the clear-cut fouls worthy of a penalty.

Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom told Radio Scotland’s Sportsound that he “wasn’t bothered” enough to consider he’d just got out of jail twice, instead launching a furious rant against referee Kevin Clancy.

Heckingbottom was incensed that Olivier Ntcham wasn’t sent off after some pushing and shoving with Josh Vela in an incident where both players picked up yellow cards.

He had earlier told BT Sport: “We deserved it, the fans deserved, the club deserved it – we were out there fighting for everything and it feels like you’re taking on extra players.

“It’s not good enough, we’re not happy about it, no one at our club is happy about it and for me it’s just made a mockery of that game.”

Heckingbottom was also enraged by Ryan Christie’s equaliser, heading home a Bauer cross after a superb move, which started with a free-kick awarded for a foul on James Forrest. Clancy appeared to miss the initial foul, but did eventually make the award.

Heckingbottom, by this stage spouting enough mince for 12 chillies, claimed that he didn’t think it was a foul, even though Forrest was clearly taken out.

He then, rather disingenuously said he felt his players might have thought there would be a bounce ball to restart play.

All this after revealing that he and his bench had been informed that Celtic had been awarded a free-kick.

Why he would expect a bounce ball when it was a foul against his team is anyone’s guess, but his reaction, kicking a water bottle which hit the linesman, earned him a deserved red card.

Perhaps Heckingbottom, with his faux outrage, is trying to engineer a siege mentality among his players. His embarrassing behaviour during and after the game was in stark contrast to Lennon’s assessment of yet another peculiar refereeing performance.

While evidently unhappy at the decisions, but accepted his team could have gone down to 10 men.

He said: “The referee got a lot right but in my eyes he got some big decisions wrong.

Lennon said he’d have a word with Ntcham about raising his hands, although he felt that the ref maybe used “common sense” over the handbags incident.

He was perplexed about the failure to award the spot kicks, fouls seen by everyone in the ground, the BT ref and the entire commentary team.

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He said: “The one on Moritz Bauer is a clear penalty and the one on Christie is a clear penalty.

“We didn’t get a stonewall penalty against Kilmarnock, anyway, that’s not the reason, well it might be, why we dropped points.

“They were not debatable penalties, they were clear penalties and would have changed the psychology of the game.”

Celtic huffed and puffed for much of the game and Lennon wasn’t impressed by the defence as Hibs sprung the offside trap in the 8th minute, ending with Ajer deflecting a Doidge cross into his own net.

He was happier with the reaction which led to the equaliser, however, with Christie adding another string to his bow with a superb header.

Despite a disjointed second half, Celtic did carve out a number of good opportunities to take the three points, but failed to make them count.

It’s an interesting day when a manager can get so aggrieved at being thrown a lifeline by a referee not once, but twice, but a cynic might think we’ve not seen the end of the ‘honest mistakes’ this season.

Listen to Heckingbottom’s rant during BT’s post-match interview here.


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