Celtic furious over Rangers turning point as defender blasts - 'sometimes you have to beat the refs'
A Kirsty Howat strike in the second-half earned victory for Rangers at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie to draw them level with Celtic in the SWPL table with both sides trailing leaders Glasgow City by five points with four matches remaining.
The defeat was a bitter blow to Celtic's title hopes with Hayes left to rue a controversial decision to disallow what would have been a first-half opener for the Hoops when she headed home from a corner kick.
Celtic players raced away to celebrate as the ball nestled in the net but referee Gavin Hanvidge stopped them in their tracks by awarding a free-kick to Rangers for a foul on goalkeeper Victoria Esson.
After reviewing video footage afterwards, Hayes insists the referee called it wrong as she questioned the overall standard of officiating in the SWPL.
"I'll keep it simple. I don't think it's a free-kick," she told Sky Sports. "But sometimes you've got to play the opposition and the refs in this league. I've seen it back and I don't know where the free-kick is coming from but he clearly had other ideas and that's why he disallowed the goal.
"There was no explanation, as usual with Scottish referees, without sounding bitter. It's [a] huge [decision]. It's so tight at the top in terms of fine margins. Hopefully that one doesn't came back to bite us.
"Any loss is a hard one to take but I think it's even harder when you're at this stage of the campaign. At the end of the day we've just got to keep our heads down and make sure we redeem ourselves next week."
Furious Celtic head coach Fran Alonso felt the decision was a major turning point and influenced the outcome of the match.
“We score a totally legal goal in the first half – absolutely nothing wrong,” he said. “It’s very frustrating. We’re fighting for our lives. It’s in our hands to win the league and then a decision that is absolutely shocking… it really frustrates us.
"[It influenced the game] in a massive way. It cannot happen. We are fighting for the league.”
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