Brendan Rodgers opens up on Steven MacLean’s ‘Vinnie Jones moment’

Hearts' Steven MacLean trains ahead of the Edinburgh derby. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
Hearts' Steven MacLean trains ahead of the Edinburgh derby. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
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Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has had his say on the incident in Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final where Hearts striker Steven MacLean grabbed Eboue Kouassi’s nether regions.

Kouassi went down in apparent agony and accused MacLean as the pair jostled for space at a corner during Celtic’s 3-0 win at BT Murrayfield.

The Hearts forward had already booked but referee Willie Collum missed the incident.

However, MacLean now faces retrospective action and is expected to receive a two-match ban, with a hearing date pencilled in for Thursday.

Rodgers compared the incident to the infamous moment when Vinnie Jones grabbed Paul Gascoigne between the legs in the 1980s.

“I haven’t seen that since Vinnie Jones on Paul Gascoigne,” the Celtic manager said. “It was a stupid thing to do – he was probably a bit emotional at the time, he’d been booked at the start of the game so he was probably fired up. We didn’t make any comment on it; it’ll be up to others to deal with it.

“Personally, I just don’t think there’s any need for it. You see all sorts of things going on – people standing on someone’s toes, tugging their shirts, whatever. The world’s changing anyway so we’ve nothing to say about it.

“I didn’t play long enough for that to happen to me but I was stamped on once during a youth international and that was sore; in fact, I can still feel it!”