Ronny Deila refuses to blame referee after Hamilton draw

Hamilton's Eamonn Brophy, left, celebrates his equaliser against Celtic. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Hamilton's Eamonn Brophy, left, celebrates his equaliser against Celtic. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
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Ronny Deila absolved referee Craig Thomson of any culpability in Celtic’s loss of two points in the Premiership title race last night.

Thomson incurred the wrath of the travelling support at New Douglas Park when he sent Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata off for a challenge on Hamilton striker Carlton 
Morris on the edge of the penalty area four minutes before half-time.

Television replays of the incident were inconclusive, with one angle suggesting Boyata got a touch to the ball, but 
Deila had no complaints and was instead critical of his player’s poor positioning.

Celtic were leading 1-0 at the time, through a Leigh Griffiths penalty. Their top scorer then saw a second spot kick saved by Accies goalkeeper Michael McGovern before teenage 
substitute Eamonn Brophy equalised for the home side.

It meant Celtic missed the chance to open up a nine-point lead over Aberdeen at the top of the table. The Pittodrie side can now cut the gap to four points if they beat St Johnstone today.

“I’m disappointed that we dropped two points,” said 
Deila. “I’m disappointed that we went down to ten men because were were controlling the game quite well in that position at 1-0 up.

“I think the red card was an okay decision. I have seen it one more time and I don’t think Dedryck is touching the ball. We have to learn from these situations. When you are one v one, you have to run with people.

“We have very quick defenders, so you should run with the strikers instead of taking chances. We got caught and it put us in a difficult situation. That is rule number one for defenders – stay on your feet and run with people.

“We had two one-on-ones with the goalkeeper and a penalty which we missed. It is going to be hard to win when you miss those chances.

“In the second half, we still produced good chances and should have scored two and killed the game but we couldn’t do it and in the end the opponents got a chance or two and they had a good finish on the set play.”

Hamilton manager Martin Canning was gratified by a result which takes his side above Motherwell in the congested battle to avoid the relegation play-off place at the bottom of the table. It was also the perfect response to the crushing 8-1 defeat Accies suffered at Celtic Park last month.

“This one restores a bit of pride,” said Canning.

“Everyone was hurting after the last game against Celtic but we showed we can get over that and put on a performance.

“It feels like a win in a way and we would have taken a point before the game.

“But I also said in the dressing room it was disappointing we didn’t win, given the way the game went.

“It was a big opportunity to get the three points, which would have been the most important thing.

“But I was proud of the players and the effort they put in,” added Canning.