ANGRY BRENDAN RODGERS said Celtic were victims of “blatant cheating” and “a horrendous decision” after a controversial late penalty earned Ross County a 2-2 draw with the Scottish champions.
Hoops manager Rodgers saw Kieran Tierney give his side a first-half lead on Sunday before Michael Gardyne headed the home team level after the break.
Patrick Roberts looked to have secured the win for visitors Celtic with a 78th-minute strike, but referee Don Robertson pointed to the spot when County substitute Alex Schalk took a tumble in the penalty area in the closing moments.
Replays showed there was no contact between Schalk and Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko.
Liam Boyce scored from the spot and Celtic captain Scott Brown then saw red for a lunge on Boyce in stoppage time as tempers flared.
Rodgers accused Schalk of diving to earn the penalty and also took aim at the referee.
“I have seen some really bad decisions up here from referees and officials, but I have got to say that is the worst I have seen,” he said.
“We had good control and then the points are taken from us by a horrendous decision.
“Erik is nowhere near touching him and the referee is in a good position and the linesman is in a good position, so to give a penalty for that was absolutely incredible.
“Players will do that. It has always happened but that is blatant cheating.
“There was no contact whatsoever and the referee has got to have a real look at it because it was a really bad decision. I am sure the boy will get banned for that.
“It is an awful decision to cost us all three points because I thought for the majority of the game we were in total control.”
Celtic midfielder Brown will miss next week’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers, as well as another Old Firm derby, at Ibrox in the league, the following weekend after his dismissal.
“I think Scott was a bit late in the tackle. He was probably a little bit frustrated with the referee for a number of incidents, not just the penalty,” said Rodgers, whose side are unbeaten in 40 domestic fixtures this season.
“So he has gone in and challenged for the ball and he has been late, but I think the talking point of the game is the penalty.”
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