Trevor Carson has described as “incredible” overhearing referee Craig Thomson ask Scott Sinclair whether he dived or not in yesterday’s Betfred Cup final.
The Motherwell goalkeeper was one of the nearest to the incident as Sinclair toppled under minimal contact from Cedric Kipre. Thomson pointed to the spot and then asked Sinclair to clear up whether he had dived or not – even though it was too late for the referee to change his mind. Carson also wanted to know what had caused the Celtic striker to fall to the turf.
“I said to Scott: ‘Did you dive? He said: ‘No I was tugged’,” recalled a deflated Carson after Motherwell’s 2-0 defeat. Moussa Dembele scored the penalty, Kipre was sent off and Motherwell were left feeling only anger mixed with regret. I think the referee has even asked Sinclair has he dived, which is a bit strange,” said Carson. “It is just incredible. He is adamant he didn’t dive, and maybe when he is going so fast it doesn’t take much for him to go over. He is a clever player and I think the referee has bought it.
“It is incredible the referee spoke to him,” added Carson. “I asked Scott himself because I was convinced he had dived. There is nothing in it, but I’m not going to call Scott a cheat.
“Big Cedric is disappointed. He keeps himself to himself. He is devastated because he was outstanding up until then. It is a shame for him but we will pick him back up. We are 100 per cent sure he will be colossal on Wednesday.”
Motherwell play Celtic again in the league in midweek and then they meet for a third time in six days on Saturday at Celtic Park.
The story of yesterday’s final might have been very different had Louis Moult’s 54th-minute header made it past Craig Gordon, with the Celtic goalkeeper making an impressive reaction save. Carson conceded it was a brilliant stop from his opposite number.
“Moulty can’t do much more and it is a world class save,” he said. “Two or three minutes later we are down to ten men and 2-0 down, but that’s what top keepers do.”
Moult himself gave Gordon credit for the stop and lamented not being awarded a penalty shortly afterwards. Motherwell enjoyed a burst of pressure shortly after going behind to James Forrest’s opener four minutes after half-time. I just wish the ball would have gone in but it is a great save,” said the striker. “I have got good power and contact on the header and he flung an arm at it and it’s a great save.”
Moult was adamant Motherwell should have been awarded a penalty after he was clipped by Kieran Tierney in the box just after Celtic went ahead. “I think he initially tries to pull me back,” said Moult. “He doesn’t manage to pull me back and then he clips my heels. Whether he means to clip my heels or not, I don’t know. But he has clipped my heels.”