Celtic manager Neil Lennon angry at “well out of order” Jim Goodwin over Greg Taylor penalty accusations
The Paisley club’s manager Goodwin effectively suggested the Scotland international had cheated in falling after he tangled with Ryan Flynn. He insisted the contact wouldn’t have caused his “seven-year-old son” to move, yet Taylor’s legs went “from beneath him”. “That’s not natural”, Goodwin further maintained.
His Celtic counterpart was enraged at the diving inference that could only be drawn from the comments, and levelled his own charge in saying his rival was indulging in “deflection”. Following the failed simulation case brought against Albian Ajeti after Celtic’s previous penalty, against Kilmarnock earlier this month, the Celtic manager is exasperated his club’s spot-kicks seem as if they are constantly being questioned.
“He’s out of order – well out of order. Greg didn’t dive,” said Lennon of Goodwin’s stance. “It was quite clear he [Taylor] was pulled back and he was also clipped by Flynn at the top of his foot. The referee deemed it a penalty. I’m not having other managers accusing my players of diving when it’s clearly not true. Jim needs to rein it in a bit. Look, he [Taylor] has gone on the wrong side of Flynn, he’s got across him, and whether Ryan has clipped him accidentally or not, it has been enough to bring Greg down. So I don’t see where anyone can accuse him of diving.
“People say ‘oh, it’s soft’ [but] we’ve looked at it again and there are two contacts: one on his arm, and one on his foot. Whenever we get a penalty these days there is a whole controversy about it, but it is clear there was contact in the box. It was clear for Ajeti, and it was clear for Taylor. Where, all of a sudden, this emergence of diving’s coming from, I don’t know.
“He [Taylor] is not [a cheat], he’s one of the best pros you could work with. I’m not talking about one incicidence here, I think that takes away from a good performance. We won the game 4-0, and if I was Jim I would be concentrating on what happened to his team second half as opposed to accusing other players of cheating or diving. I think that’s totally out of order from him.”
Stephen Welsh faces a late fitness test for Sunday’s trip to St Johnstone after he was forced off on a stretcher as a result of being caught on the ankle by Jon Obika on Wednesday. However, despite stating this week that Celtic and Rangers seem to be the focus of retrospective action, Lennon did not feel that the challenge required to be looked at again. “I think it is clumsy and late but I don’t think it is malicious,” he said. “We’re honest, we don’t deflect.”
Meanwhile, James Forrest’s return from four-and-a-half months out following ankle surgery won’t come in Perth, after a midweek visit to a specialist. “He’s had another week and he has to do some straight line running, so he’ll not make this weekend,” Lennon said. “But we’ll assess him for Aberdeen [on Wednesday].”
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