herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Celtic searching for a 'simple answer'

Deila
Deila

John COLLINS insists the desire for “a simple answer” lay behind Celtic’s decision to write to the Scottish FA about the officiating in their William Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Inverness on Sunday.

The Parkhead club and their fans were enraged by referee Steven McLean’s failure to award a penalty against Inverness defender Josh Meekings when he blocked Leigh Griffiths’ goal-bound header with his hand just before the interval with the Hoops leading 1-0.

The Highlanders came back to win 3-2 in extra-time to deprive Ronny Deila’s side the chance of the treble and set up a meeting with Falkirk in the May 30 final.

The Scottish Premiership leaders released a statement on Monday revealing they were “seeking an understanding” of the failure to penalise Meekings.

Ahead of the trip to Dundee tonight, Hoops assistant Collins explained the reason behind the question while insisting Celtic have already “moved on”.

“We want a simple answer,” he said. “If you are looking for an answer you ask a question.

“Everyone knows it was a key moment in the game. It didn’t go our way and we are just asking ‘why?’.

“We have a massive support all over the world. The supporters are all asking the question so the club has probably asked on behalf of all the supporters around the world.

“The first thing I have to say is we congratulate Inverness and John Hughes, they have done a fantastic job and we wish them all the best in the final.

“We are just looking for an answer but trust me, we have moved on.”

Griffiths said afterwards that referee McLean had told him assistant Alan Muir, stationed behind the goal line just yards away from the incident, had said he saw the ball hitting Meekings’ face, an explanation that Collins would accept.

Meanwhile, Anthony Stokes, Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong return to the Celtic squad for the Scottish Premiership clash with Dundee at Dens Park tonight.

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