Banished Pressley full of pride at his side’s display as Lennon lauds Stokes’ striking instinct

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FALKIRK manager Steven Pressley found himself watching the second half of yesterday’s Scottish Communities League Cup from the stand, after remonstrating with referee Euan Norris at the end of the first half.

Pressley was furious about the penalty decision against Falkirk defender Darren Dods, which allowed Scott Brown to open the scoring for Celtic from the spot.

But the former Scotland defender was contrite after the game, saying: “I am not proud of what happened at half-time, far from it. “I am a passionate manager and passionate about my players but I have to keep my emotions in check at times.

“I was just disappointed with some decisions that had a big impact on the game.

“I’ve not seen it so I’m not going to say it wasn’t a penalty but I just ask you the question: would it have been given in the other box?

“I haven’t seen the free-kick which led to the second goal either but my initial feeling was it was soft. But I don’t want that to overshadow our performance.

“I want to read about how well my team played. What a performance. I am exceptionally proud of my players and I don’t think the result was a true reflection of the game. On the balance of play I think we merited a result.”

After his side’s 3-1 win at Hampden, Celtic manager Neil Lennon confirm the capture of Polish striker Pawel Brozek on loan from Turkish side Trabzonspor for the rest of the season.

Lennon has spoken of wanting to bring in a taller target man although he professed himself pleased with the strikers at his disposal yesterday, particularly Anthony Stokes, who has now scored 17 times this season thanks to his brace against the Bairns.

“I had a chat with him on Friday,” said Lennon. “I am pleased with his goal return but he needs to smarten up on his play in general.

“And I got all that from him today. He has a natural instinct for scoring. But to play here you need more than just an ability to chip in with a goal here and there. I want him to be a good team player – and I thought he was excellent today.

“Falkirk played well in the game but if you look alone at the chances we had, we’ve hit the bar twice, we've hit the post and we missed two one-on-ones, [Thomas] Rogne has had a free header from four or five yards out and missed that, so in terms of chances we were well on top.

“I had to rely on my goalkeeper to make a double save at 2-1 but apart from that I thought we controlled the majority of the game.”

Lennon added: “I know Steven might have complained about the penalty but Thomas Rogne said Dods had his arms around him but for me we scored a good goal and it was chalked off.

“I think Gary Hooper was onside so I don’t think they could make too many complaints about the referee.” Lennon reacted to Falkirk’s 40th minute equaliser by replacing Emilio Izaguirre, who has recently returned from a broken ankle, with Ki Sung Yueng at half-time.

Izaguirre had been caught out of position for Jay Fulton’s 40th-minute goal.

“He [Izaguirre] looked a bit off the game,” said Lennon. “It’s not a major concern but he needs to get up to match speed.

“The only way he can do that is by playing. But he needs to find his rhythm again. At the minute he looks a bit off it.”