KILMARNOCK manager Derek McInnes revealed that referee Don Robertson apologised to him at half-time in the cinch Premiership game at Rugby Park this evening for giving Celtic “a helping hand”.

Brendan Rodgers’ side ran out emphatic 5-0 winners against the fourth-placed side in the top flight to clinch their third consecutive Scottish title and spark wild celebrations among the travelling supporters.

McInnes lavished praise on Callum McGregor and his team mates for how they had performed on an artificial pitch they had lost twice on during the 2023/24 campaign afterwards.

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But he confessed he had not been happy that Adam Idah’s opener in the fifth minute had been allowed to stand because of the injury which his centre half Robbie Deas suffered in the build up to it.

Neither Robertson or his VAR colleague Greg Aitken felt that the defender had been fouled – but the match official confessed that he should have stopped play because the ex-Inverness Caledonian Thistle man had gone to ground with a head knock.

“It was the toughest 90 mins we’ve had to endure,” he said. “That was partly us, but congratulations to Celtic. I thought they’d have beaten any team in the league tonight. They were strong.

“We’re always professional and give the best account of ourselves, but, subconsciously for the players, when you’re playing a team much more on their game, it’s difficult. They played with intensity and didn’t let us breathe. When (Adam) Idah comes in he gives them that focal point.”
But McInnes added: “The first goal should have been pulled back and Don Robertson apologised at half-time. He said it wasn’t a foul, but he knew it was a head knock and he should have stopped the game. It’s poor from him because he’s a good official.

“They didn’t need a helping hand but they got one and they were really good with their work. There was so much wrong with what we did tonight. But a big part was what Celtic were doing.”

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Kilmarnock’s players did a lap of honour after the final whistle despite the result and McInnes praised his charges for securing fourth place in the Premiership and a place in Europe next season.
“It’s been a brilliant campaign,” he said. “It’s not the way we wanted the last home game to play out and it was always going to be tough. We looked like a team who had done our work. But what a season it’s been and this isn’t going to spoil it.”