TOMMY WRIGHT, the St Johnstone manager, felt Celtic had enjoyed another "slice of luck" after a contentious penalty award helped Ronny Deila get off to a winning start in his first league match in charge of the Scottish champions.
Wright bemoaned referee John Beaton's decision not to award his team a penalty after Dave Mackay was caught by Virgil van Dijk, before Mackay was then sent off for a foul on Derk Boerrigter inside the box when contact seemed to be minimal. The St Johnstone players thought it was a dive by the Dutchman, and Wright confirmed the club would appeal the red card shown to Mackay.
On the back of the decision to reinstate Celtic into the Champions League at the expense of Legia Warsaw - pending the outcome of an appeal set to be announced this morning - the Northern Irishman felt that Deila and his players were enjoying a rich vein of good fortune. "Celtic have had fair slices of luck recently and I feel they've had a fair slice of luck again tonight," said Wright.
Loading article content
"My view would be that one is a penalty and one isn't. Simple. But it's not my view that counts. It's the referee's and he has had to make two decisions. If there was contact [on Boerrigter] it was minimal and the contact didn't make him go down - because he didn't go down after the contact. That's clear for everybody to see. He actually collapses his right leg, which is the leg furthest away from Dave Mackay. If he did make contact [at all]. But there we are."
Striker Steven MacLean hoped that Boerrigter would be retrospectively punished if it turned out he made the most of the situation. "Seemingly the referees had a meeting on Friday and were speaking about diving. One of the topics that came up is that they can rescind things if a player dives. Hopefully that will happen. If he's dived he deserves to get done for it." Deila wouldn't be drawn on either penalty decision and revealed that, while satisfied with the eventual outcome, he wasn't entirely pleased with his team's performance.
"I'm not unbelievably happy today because I don't think we were fantastic but we are on our way," said the Norwegian. "I need to observe the players and tell them the way I want it and that takes time. The second half was more like how I want to see my team but we need to work on our fitness and the pattern of our play if we want to improve. But it will come."