Celtic goalkeeper Scott Bain does not absolve goalscorer Gboly Ariyibi or his teenage provider, James Scott, of blame for the breach of sportsmanship which led to Motherwell’s goal in their 4-1 defeat at Parkhead on Sunday.
When the ball had been put out of play to allow treatment for Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie, the hosts expected their opponents to knock it back to them; instead, Scott raced upfield and fired in a shot which Bain could only parry into the path of Ariyibi, who converted from the rebound.
However, Bain believes that the biggest culprit was Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson due to his failure to atone for that by allowing Celtic to score from the restart.
The goalkeeper was also closing in on Fraser Forster’s SPFL shut-out record until Motherwell’s controversial strike made it 2-1.
“It was disappointing to lose the record like that,” he admitted. “Not that we’d really thought or spoken about it but I don’t think we were too far away from getting to the record of clean sheets and we’d got there by playing some very good football.
“So it was disappointing and something I’ve never seen before. It’s a bit embarrassing for them. I’m sure they woke up this morning and were a bit embarrassed by how they’ve handled it. They had the chance to rectify the situation after and did nothing about it.
“Their right-back threw the ball in and walked back towards his own goal thinking it’s going to get played back to us. We were all just watching and waiting and suddenly [Scott] is running in on the goal and having a shot.
“Then the other guy follows in to finish. Obviously, their manager tried to blame it on a young lad but he had the chance to rectify the situation after and they didn’t do it. Of course they should have dealt with it better. It’s happened in football before and you always, for respect and sportsmanship, let the other team score because whenever you kick the ball out for an injury you always give the ball back to the opposing team.
“I don’t understand what he was thinking. The manager’s tried to blame it on a young lad but he’s in charge. So, between him and the rest of the players, they can sort it out but, obviously, they didn’t want to.
“They wanted to try to get a second goal and get a point or go on to win the game so I was more than a little bit happy when Odsonne Edouard put that free-kick in to make it 3-1.
“It’s an unwritten rule so it’s out of the referee’s hands. It goes to the management of the Motherwell squad but they didn’t want to take responsibility for it?”
Bain also believes it could affect how the champions respond to similar situations in future meetings with Motherwell. “In future we’ll probably just play with ten men and not put the ball out of play so our players could be lying down seriously injured,” he said.
“I think it’s pretty pathetic that they felt they had to try that to score a goal but it’s happened and we go from there. If they put the ball out the next time we play them would we give it back? If it was up to me, no. Not a chance.
“The amount of work that we put in to those games before with the clean sheets, the way we defended… and it’s gone out of the window for something that shouldn’t really happen in football. For us to come in at the end and for them to say: ‘You won the game anyway’… that’s just absolutely pathetic.
“We won the game because we were the better team and deserved to win. To try to get away with that and to blame it on a young lad… for me, it’s just embarrassing.
“Has [Scott] not watched football before? He’s not played a game before? Youth teams, all the way up, it happens at every level. I think that, if you are the manager, you have to rectify the situation.
“I was thinking he was going to pass the ball to me but he kept coming and I was thinking: ‘Oh, he’s not going to shoot, is he?’ and then he does and the other boy follows in.
“Most of the boys were angry and they have the right to be. It’s not something we would do and it’s not something I have seen anyone do, really. For five or ten minutes it disjointed us a little bit.”