‘A shambles and a farce’: Hibs boss Heckingbottom ‘let down’ by referee in Celtic draw



Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom says his side were “let down” by refereeing decisions in the 1-1 draw against Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic on Saturday.

Heckingbottom was sent off for kicking a water bottle and confronting the fourth official following Celtic’s equaliser, which came from a free-kick awarded for a foul on James Forrest. Referee Kevin Clancy had waved play on but awarded the free-kick following advice from his fourth official, Nick Walsh, which led to Ryan Christie’s header in the 23rd minute.

The Hibs manager was also aggrieved that Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham was only shown a yellow card for pushing Hibs’ Josh Vela and said that the visiting midfielder could have been sent off “three times” during the incident.

“That’s the worst one and that’s the biggest injustice,” Heckingbottom said afterwards. “Everyone has been let down by that, all the supporters, all the players, everyone connected to the club. There’s a couple of arms thrown, he [the referee] can claim he didn’t see it but he is stood between the two players when the third [push] comes in under his chin. Everyone can see it.”

On the free-kick which led to Celtic’s equaliser, Heckingbottom said: “The frustrating thing is how the decision was transmitted. Because no one was appealing and Forrest was down injured some players are thinking he’s stopped the game for the injury… It was a shambles and a farce.”

Hibs had taken a surprise lead thanks to Kristoffer Ajer’s early own goal and managed to claim a point despite being put under heavy pressure as Celtic pushed for a winner. 

Celtic manager Neil Lennon said he was also left frustrated by refereeing decisions after his side were denied two penalties in the second half. Lennon said Moritz Bauer was taken out by Hibs’ Daryl Horgan in the box before Christie was also fouled by Lewis Stevenson. 

“While I’m not here to criticise referees we should have had two clear penalties,” Lennon said. “They are two penalties and the referee should at least give us one, because we deserve that. The linesman is 10 yards away and has a great view of it.”

Lennon also admitted that Ntcham was fortunate he wasn’t sent off for pushing Vela. 

“We know you can’t lift your hands,” Lennon said. “It was a bit of a kerfuffle. I think common sense prevailed. We will need to speak to [Olivier] about that.”


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