Brendan Rodgers accused Motherwell of violating the “ethics” of the game yesterday after the Fir Park side scored from a throw-in intended for Celtic that followed the ball being played out to allow Ryan Christie to receive treatment.
The 52nd-minute incident which overshadowed Celtic maintaining their eight-point league lead with a 4-1 win, saw 18-year-old debutant James Scott run on to a throw-in which team-mate Liam Grimshaw had played down the left channel for the Celtic defence to retrieve. With Celtic players stopped, Scott fired in a shot which was parried by Scott Bain before Gboly Ariyibi netted to make the score 2-1.
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson said his player had made a “mistake” but Rodgers was scathing of his counterpart and Scott for their actions, which left the home crowd furious.
“It’s a goal that goes against the ethics of the game, and that’s the disappointing aspect,” Rodgers said. “Motherwell had an opportunity then to do something in the spirit of the game, but chose not to and went on to press for an equaliser. It was a real injustice. We’re obviously disappointed with the action. But I’m so proud of the players with the way they did react and got the win.”
Rodgers said it was not up to him to ask Robinson to gift Celtic a goal in response, and insisted that Scott’s inexperience was not a mitigating factor.
“That’s Stephen’s job as a leader to initiate that. It looked like their goalkeeper ran over to ask what was going to happen but they were happy enough to push on and give themselves a chance in the game. Referees get criticised a lot up here, but you have to shine a light into the players at Motherwell. It was a real disappointing act.
“He [Scott] knows exactly what he is doing, he’s played in football games before. He’ll learn from it, of course. I’m disappointed for him. He’s making his first start for Motherwell. But there’s no excuse.”
Robinson read the situation differently. “Unfortunately, the goal will deflect from a terrific performance. That’s the annoying thing for me.
“I didn’t know what to do when it happened,” he added. “It was a young boy making his first start in the game, he’s a real prospect for us, and he’s made a mistake. Listen, I don’t know what you do after that. I haven’t got a clue. I have never been in that circumstance before.
“I don’t make the rules. I think James just got caught up in it. He’s a young boy, he’s living his dream by playing football. He’s on flipping £200 a week. He’s made a mistake. Celtic didn’t lose the league because of it, they didn’t lose the game.”