John Kennedy unhappy with turned down penalty claim in Old Firm stalemate

Celtic should have had derby penalty says interim manager John Kennedy
Celtic should have had derby penalty says interim manager John Kennedy (PA Wire)
16:01pm, Sun 21 Mar 2021
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Interim boss John Kennedy claimed referee Willie Collum denied Celtic a clear-cut penalty in their 1-1 draw with champions Rangers at Parkhead.

Hoops attacker Mohamed Elyounoussi headed in an Odsonne Edouard cross in the 23rd minute  of the Scottish Premiership encounter but minutes later the French forward was booked for diving in the box after a challenge by Gers defender Borna Barisic.

Colombia striker Alfredo Morelos levelled in the 38th minute with his first goal against Celtic and, although the home side had the best of the game, Steven Gerrard’s men made it 33 league games unbeaten to keep the 20-point gap between the teams intact.

We are sure it's a penalty. We feel aggrieved that we didn't get a penalty kick

Kennedy said of the penalty claim:  “It had a massive say in the game. I’ve seen it back and I’ve spoken to Odsonne.

“If you get any sort of contact in the box, when a player comes flying at you at that speed, comes recklessly in, knocks you off balance, touches you enough to go over – that’s what happened there.

“If he doesn’t go over, he is on the ball, he scores the goal.

“There is no need for him to go down, he is a goal scorer, he wants as many goals as possible. He is not that type of player.

“I haven’t had a chance to speak to the referee. In games like that, these decisions are massive, really important.

“Willie will have his opinion on it, other people might think differently but we are sure it’s a penalty.

Celtic v Rangers – Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park (PA Wire)

“So we feel aggrieved that we didn’t get a penalty kick, we have to accept that and look at the bigger picture of the performance which was good.

“It was a high level performance. I thought we were dominant most of the game and scored a really great goal, which we were pleased with and disappointed with the goal we conceded. Overall pleased, and the attitude was terrific.”

The Celtic players put Old Firm rivalries aside before the game. Rangers players had decided not to take the knee before kick-off in support of Gers midfielder Glen Kamara and the Celtic players did likewise.

The Finland international claimed he had been subject to a racist slur by Ondrej Kudela during the Europe League defeat by Slavia Prague at Ibrox on Thursday night.

Celtic v Rangers – Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park (PA Wire)

Celtic skipper Scott Brown had a quick word with Kamara in the build-up andsubstitutes, management and backroom staff of both clubs stood along the touchline in a show of solidarity.

Former Celtic defender Kennedy said: “It is important. This is not about derbies, rivalry, opposition.

“This is about unity coming together, and trying to make a difference.

“It has gone on too long. It seems to happen more and more even though there is more education.

“It is not acceptable. You give someone, or whoever it may be, a punishment for it and that will quickly eradicate it.”

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