Celtic CEO fires brutal ‘penalty’ dig at rivals Rangers as topic of referees and VAR takes centre stage

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Hoops CEO Michael Nicholson spoke to shareholders at Celtic Park at the club’s annual AGM session.

Celtic chief executive Michael Nicholson could not resist the urge to throw a humorous remark about Rangers when the subject of referees and VAR was raised at the club AGM.

The annual question and answers session with shareholders was held at Celtic Park on Wednesday 22 November ahead of the club’s upcoming game with Motherwell at the weekend.

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During the meeting, Nicholson was asked about what should happen to a referee or VAR official if they miss a key decision. To which Nicholson responded: “Penalty Rangers”, prompting loud cheers and laughter in the room, in reference to the perception among some within Scottish football that the Ibrox side are regularly beneficiaries of spot-kick awards.”

Statistics from this season, however, show that both Celtic and Rangers have had an equal share of penalties this season with six each. In both cases the two teams have scored four and missed two of their chances to score from 12 yards.

Rangers have not conceded a penalty in the league since January 18, 2022, when Lewis Ferguson converted for Aberdeen in what proved a 1-1 draw. Following that match, the Ibrox club wrote to the Scottish FA to express their concerns over a number of decisions made by referee Kevin Clancy. Neither Rangers or Celtic have conceded a spot-kick so far this season.

Heading into this week’s round of fixtures Celtic are unbeaten with 35 points from their opening 13 games, while Rangers are eight points behind in the table with one game in hand.

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Celtic will look to extend this gap in a home match against Motherwell, while Rangers will return to action with an away trip to Aberdeen less than a month before the two side’s meet again in the Viaplay Cup final on Sunday 17 December.

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