PAUL Paton has accused Celtic of influencing match officials following the latest bad-tempered episode in the ongoing series of games between Dundee United and the Parkhead club.
Angered by Ronny Deila’s contention that Ryan McGowan’s challenge on Liam Henderson near the end of Wednesday night’s Scottish Cup replay “could have injured him [Henderson] for life”, Paton defended his team-mate and noted how the Celtic manager “has an opinion on everything”.
The Parkhead club, he added, have been getting the benefit of decisions for years. “I don’t know if I am being biased but I will have to look back at the tackle and I did not think that there was too much in it and Celtic have made a lot of it,” he said, adding: “Ronny Deila has an opinion on everything and that is his view.
“We look at things differently as it looked like a fine tackle to me and that is my opinion. I will have to see it again to see whose opinion is right.
“I don’t really read too much into what Deila has to say or who he puts pressure on but I think Celtic as a club can manipulate people more than Dundee United can. That kind of thing has been happening for years.”
Paton saw his red card rescinded in the first Scottish Cup clash at Tannadice after being wrongly identified for being involved in an early flashpoint that set the tone for the three meetings over ten days. The teams play again tomorrow in a league fixture after a total of six red cards in their last three games.
We have seen injustices in the last few games and that causes frustrationPaul Paton
Paton, who has been called into the Northern Ireland international squad for the forthcoming friendly with Scotland, was free to play on Wednesday but could not prevent his side falling to a 4-0 defeat.
The midfielder was in the thick of things near the end after clashing with Anthony Stokes, who was red-carded for lashing out at Paton.
Later, Stokes tweeted that he had been the victim of a “sly elbow in the face by someone that has nothing about them”. Paton tried to be more discreet when asked what had happened between him and Stokes.
“What happens on the pitch stays on the pitch,” he said. “I have ran across him and I don’t know if he thinks I have meant to hit him but he has lashed out and he has caught me on the side of the face.
“These things happen in the game. I stepped across him and I don’t know if I have caught him with my leg or my arm, I honestly don’t know but it was certainly not intentional.”
Paton reflected on an earlier incident when Efe Ambrose, who had been booked in the first half, committed another foul near the start of the second half on Nadir Ciftci.
“I thought he [Ambrose] was lucky to stay on the park but we have seen it in the last few meetings that we don’t seem to get things like that going for us against Celtic,” he said.
“How he stayed on the park I will never know as it is a clear yellow card. But when you come to places like this you never seem to get these decisions. I don’t know if it is just coincidence but you saw last weekend in the League Cup final that we should have had a clear penalty.
“We didn’t get the penalty and then Efe Ambrose should have got sent off when we were on top in the game and it did not happen. Small things like that change games.
“We have seen injustices in the last few games we have played and that causes frustration and it feels that we do not get any decisions and that it is continual.
“There is no edge between the two teams as there were not many bad challenges between the sides. It was not a game like that and I don’t think Gowser [McGowan] deserved to get sent off as he clearly took the ball.”
Turning to tomorrow’s league fixture between the sides at Celtic Park, their fourth meeting in 13 days, Paton was confident United can bounce back.
“We have come here and lost 4-0 and that is hard to take but you have to take it on the chin and get on with it. We are big enough and we come here again on Saturday with a clean slate.”
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