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Thursday 25 May 2017

Rodgers has sympathy for Saints

Celtic boss feels Wright pain in win

Mousa Dembele celebrates scoring his hat-trick and Celtic’s fifth goal in the win at St
Johnstone Picture: PA
Mousa Dembele celebrates scoring his hat-trick and Celtic’s fifth goal in the win at St Johnstone Picture: PA

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers had some sympathy for his fellow Northern Irishman Tommy Wright in yesterday's 5-2 victory at St Johnstone.

Saints manager Wright criticised referee Craig Thomson for awarding Celtic a controversial penalty in the Hoops' Premiership win at McDiarmid Park.

The home side had gone into the break leading 2-1 after a Keith Watson header and an own goal by Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata had overturned an early opener from Liam Henderson.

The home side were denied a penalty when Danny Swanson was challenged by Hoops skipper Scott Brown but Thomson did point to the spot when a Kieran Tierney cross struck Watson, albeit it seemed to hit the defender on the hip.

With his first touch, substitute Moussa Dembele scored the penalty and grabbed another two for his hat-trick with Scott Sinclair also notching as Rodgers' side extended their unbeaten domestic run since the start of the season to 29 games.

Rodgers said: "If I am Tommy I am probably disappointed.

"Lots of decisions that I see up here - and I have only been up a short time - are some funny ones.

"As a manager I am absolutely delighted that I got it but from Tommy's perspective he will be bitterly disappointed."

Asked how he compared the standard of refereeing between Scotland and England, the former Swansea and Liverpool boss said: "It is a difficult job. I am not going to go in to it here in front of you, to slaughter them.

"It is a difficult job for them and I have seen it in a lot of the games. They are not full-time, it is not their professional job.

"They come into big games, particularly Celtic games, pressure games. They are good guys, they are all doing their best."

Wright was also peeved that Thomson had only warned Boyata after he tangled with Saints defender Joe Shaughnessy in the Celtic box and his frustration boiled over in the post-match press conference.

The Saints boss said: "There is game changers and certainly there is three big game changers in that second half. It is not a penalty. If I live to be 100 it should never be a penalty. How he gives it is beyond me. He couldn't wait to give the penalty."

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