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‘No regrets’ – Rodgers on SFA punishment as he avoids Old Firm ban

Brendan Rodgers has been banned for Celtic’s trip to Livingston on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, but will return to the dugout for the key Old Firm clash against Rangers at Ibrox.

The Hoops manager faced the potential of an immediate two-match touchline suspension after describing referee Don Robertson and VAR John Beaton as “really, really poor” and hitting out at “absolutely shocking decision-making”, before adding the officiating “cost us” as he questioned several incidents in their defeat at Hearts on March 3.

He was accused of breaching rule 72, which stipulates that managers – as well as other players and staff – cannot “indicate bias or incompetence” regarding match officials during interviews.

While Rodgers was found guilty at an SFA hearing on Thursday – he will serve a one-match penalty with another game on hold until the end of the season should he break the same rule again – he is clear to face Philippe Clement’s side next Sunday.

‘No regrets’

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - MARCH 03: Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers shakes hands with Referee Don Robertson during a cinch Premiership match between Heart of Midlothian and Celtic at Tynecastle Park, on March 03, 2024, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Image: Rodgers was not happy with the officials after the defeat at Tynecastle Park

Asked about his punishment, Rodgers told Sky Sports News: “We’re obviously disappointed, however we respect the decision.

“My thanks go to the club for their unwavering support in helping up fight it, but we respect the decision and we move on.

“I think it’s just a misunderstanding in terms of the interpretation. In all my time when I’ve been in Scotland I’ve always talked about standards and to improve standards, whether that be in VAR on this occasion, whether it was about the pitches we play on.

“My whole drive up here has always been about the standards and I just felt on that day it wasn’t quite where we would want it to be.

“The interpretation was maybe misunderstood or misconstrued but certainly I have no regret over it.

“It’s my first experience of it, I’ve never been banned before but it’ll be interesting just observing from the stand.”

Celtic are currently top of the Scottish Premiership by one point, however title rivals Rangers do have a game in hand.

After the games against Livingston and Rangers – both live on Sky Sports – Celtic then face St Mirren at home in their final pre-split fixture.

What decisions angered Rodgers?

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Highlights of the key incidents as Celtic lost at Hearts in the Scottish Premiership

Celtic were awarded a penalty in the loss at Hearts after Alex Cochrane’s barge on Hyun-Jun Yang, then, minutes after Adam Idah’s spot-kick was saved, Yang was shown a red card following a VAR check for a high boot on Cochrane.

That sending-off angered Rodgers and was the subject of an unsuccessful appeal by Celtic, while Rodgers also said it was “absolutely shocking” that Hearts were awarded a penalty for Tomoki Iwata’s handball after referee Don Robertson went for a second look at the VAR monitor.

What did Rodgers say?

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Rodgers slammed the decisions made during his side’s defeat at Hearts

Speaking to Sky Sports following the defeat at Tynecastle Park, Rodgers said:

“I never like to comment on officials but that cost us today. The officiating from on-field to John Beaton being on VAR, was really poor.

“I look at the first incident [red card] and if you put a still on that it looks dangerous, but that’s not the reality of the move.

“There’s no force there, the ball’s popped up. It’s a booking. That’s really disappointing to go down to 10 men for that but to receive a penalty against us – wow, that was even worse.

“If you watch the incident again, Tomoki’s jumped, he’s on his way down and he’s not looking as he’s been nudged a little bit which then pushes his arm out.

“If that’s a penalty then you will have penalties in every single game, every single week.

“That is just absolutely shocking decision-making and I feel really disappointed for our players and our supporters.

“You’ll have to ask John Beaton in VAR what he’s seeing. If he’s seeing that as dangerous play then seeing that as handball then he’s probably seeing something different to everyone else, unless you’re connected with Hearts of course!

“I just think they’re seeing a different game and it’s incidents like that is why referees and officials get challenged because that’s not seeing the game.”

Ref Watch verdict

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Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher assesses Celtic’s incident-packed 2-0 defeat against Hearts at Tynecastle Park

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher dissected the flashpoints that angered Rodgers, alongside Sky Sports pundits Sue Smith and Stephen Warnock.

‘Iwata handball harsh – but officials are consistent’

INCIDENT: Following a lengthy VAR review, Hearts were awarded a penalty against Celtic when the ball came down onto the arm of Tomoki Iwata as he rose amid a cluster of bodies to try to head the ball out of his box.

DERMOT SAYS: “I think it’s harsh but we’ve seen this in the Scottish league all season. The one thing they’ve been consistent about, any incident like that has been penalised. Harsh, very unlucky, but to their credit, every single one like that they’ve given.”

STEPHEN WARNOCK SAYS: “That’s a bad decision.”

SUE SMITH SAYS: “I don’t know what he’s supposed to do with his arm. I don’t like that decision at all.”

‘Yang red harsh but correct’

INCIDENT: Celtic’s Hyun-Jun Yang was sent off for a high boot on Alex Cochrane.

DERMOT SAYS: “I think the player is unlucky but it is a red card. He has no idea where the player is, he’s genuinely going for the ball but if you catch a player in the face with your studs it’s going to be a red card.”


‘Celtic penalty should have been a Hearts free-kick!’

INCIDENT: Celtic are awarded a penalty for Alex Cochrane’s challenge on Hyun-Jun Yang.

DERMOT SAYS: “Extremely harsh. I thought it was a foul the other way. Cochrane was in front so I find it hard to see how he commits a foul. The Celtic player goes into Cochrane.”

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