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Furious Ronnie Deila is up in arms after Inverness beat Celtic in Scottish Cup semi-final

Inverness CT 3 - Celtic 2

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 20/04/2015

Helping hand: Josh Meekings uses his arm to stop Leigh Griffiths’ header finding the net but the officials fail to spot it
Helping hand: Josh Meekings uses his arm to stop Leigh Griffiths’ header finding the net but the officials fail to spot it
Keeper Craig Gordon was sent off

Celtic boss Ronny Deila pointed the finger at official Alan Muir for missing a controversial penalty incident in his side's 3-2 William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Inverness which ended hopes of a treble.

To most inside Hampden Park apart from referee Steven McLean and his additional assistant Muir, stationed behind the goal, it looked clear that Caley Thistle defender Josh Meekings had used an arm to prevent a Leigh Griffiths header going into the net just a yard out.

A scored penalty seconds before the break would have added to Virgil van Dijk's opener for the Parkhead men and with the Highlanders probably reduced to 10 men, the Hoops manager claimed the game would have "finished" with his side looking forward to the final against Falkirk on May 30.

And the match then further turned against the Scottish League Cup winners early in the second half when keeper Craig Gordon was sent off for tripping Inverness striker Marley Watkins to concede a penalty, which Greg Tansey scored past replacement keeper Lukasz Zaluska.

Inverness striker Edward Ofere's low drive in the 96th minute was cancelled out by Celtic substitute John Guidetti's free-kick but with four minutes remaining full-back David Raven grabbed the winner for the Highlanders to stir up memories of their infamous 3-1 win over the Bhoys in 2000, which inspired the headline 'Super Caley Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious'.

Afterwards, the Celtic boss reacted to questions about the game's biggest incident.

He said: "I don't think I have to say much about that. I think everybody saw what happened.

"Maybe we need seven referees? One on each post.

"Their one task is to look at what is happening in the six-yard box and on the goal line. You can't blame the main referee for that.

"It's a hard blow for the boys and for us. We're very disappointed and we had control at 11 versus 11 and we should have killed the game off."

Griffiths was also left baffled by the decision.

He said: "It's one big decision that has changed the game for us. Everyone will tell you the same.

"You would need to ask the referee and the assistant behind the goal whey they thought it wasn't a penalty.

"I asked the centre-half during the game if it hit his hand or his face and he said 'hand, 100 per cent'.

"We have the best penalty taker in the country in Kris Commons so I have no doubt he would have tucked it away and they are down to 10 men and have a mountain to climb."

Meekings admitted he was lucky to be on the park but he felt Caley Thistle were rewarded for their ambition after taking the game to Celtic.

The defender said: "It has come off my arm, but he is two yards away from me. I have just gone to throw my body in the way.

"There was a long way to go and we still had a lot to do. It's always going to be difficult against Celtic so when you get decisions like that it's a bonus.

"I thought we played really well, we passed it really well and pressed them a lot better than when we last played them."

While Deila was annoyed with the non penalty award, had no complaints about Gordon's dismissal as he added: "That was okay. The rule is as it is. I think the rule is very hard, but that's nothing to do with the ref. The other decision is quite different.

"It was a very difficult situation. A 50-50 challenge and he came out a little too late."

While hopes of a clean sweep are over, Deila is looking for the Scottish Premiership leaders to keep on course for the title against Dundee at Dens Park on Wednesday night.

The former Stromsgodset boss said: "It's a tough world and that's why it's so hard to get a treble. Good teams bounce back quickly.

"Everybody is very disappointed, but I've had disappointing moments before. It's about how you handle it and what you learn from it."

nverness: Esson, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Draper, Tansey, Watkins, Christie, Williams (Ross 74), Ofere. Subs not used: Vincent, Doran, Tremarco, Polworth, Kink, Mackay.

Goals: Tansey 58 (pen), Ofere 96, Raven 117

Celtic: Gordon, Matthews, van Dijk, Denayer, Izaguirre, Brown, Bitton, Forrest (Zaluska 56), Johansen, Commons (Tonev 90), Griffiths (Guidetti 98). Subs not used: Ambrose Emuobo, Scepovic, McGregor, Tierney.

Goals: van Dijk 18, Guidetti 103

Bookings: Inverness: Warren, Watkins, Williams, Ross. Celtic: Gordon (sent off), Brown, Tonev

Man of match: David Raven (Inverness)

Referee: Steven McLean (Scotland)

Attendance: 28,643.

Belfast Telegraph

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