By: Mark Henderson on 12 Mar, 2017 15:21
ALTHOUGH Brendan Rodgers was naturally disappointed to see victory snatched from Celtic’s grasp in the dying moments of today’s Glasgow derby against Rangers, he was philosophical about the final outcome as the Hoops stretched their lead at the top of the table to 25 points.
The champions led until the 88th minute through Stuart Armstrong’s superb left-footed strike but they were punished for failing to add to that advantage when Clint Hill netted from close-range following a Rangers free-kick.
And the Hoops’ frustrations were compounded when Leigh Griffiths was fouled in the box by Hill as the clock ticked down. It looked a clear-cut penalty but referee Bobby Madden was unmoved.
Despite the draw, the Bhoys extended their unbeaten domestic run this season to 35 matches and took another step towards claiming a sixth successive title.
Speaking after the game, the manager said: “It’s always disappointing if you lose a goal late on like that, especially the manner of it. We defended the first part the free-kick well and then we created space of our own making for the second phase. That’s the way it goes sometimes.
“We should have had a clear-cut penalty at the death, but I’m proud of the team today. It was a tough game. We weren’t so good in the first half. We had lots of effort, our commitment was great but we lacked the positioning and possession of the ball. It wasn’t a great first half, to be honest, in terms of the game.
“We made a change at half-time to try and get more superiority centrally, and we then took control of the game. I felt it was matter of time in the second half before we got the second goal but when it’s at 1-0, there is always that little moment that can happen. That’s the way it goes. We wanted three points but we will take a point.”
On the non-award of the penalty for Griffiths, the Hoops boss added: “When Clint Hill tells me he got away with it on the pitch when I spoke to him afterwards, Clint is a good guy, a good, honest fella, and I know when he says it that he got away with one, but probably everyone saw it apart from the referee."
Armstrong left the field in the second half and was replaced by Leigh Griffiths, and the Irishman revealed that the midfielder hadn’t picked up a serious knock.
“He was excellent,” added the manager. “His calves tightened up. and when he went off we lost that little bit of control in the last bit of the game, but he should be fine, he just stiffened up."