Celtic penalty decision 'unlucky' says ex-referee and reveals thoughts on Rangers red card claim

A former Premier League referee praised the levels of 'consistent' officiating in the Scottish Premiership as he discussed the key decisions from this week's games involving Celtic and Rangers.
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Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher defended Scottish Premiership officials as he ran the rule over the big decisions from Celtic's 2-0 defeat to Hearts and Rangers' 2-1 loss to Motherwell at the weekend.

Celtic's loss in the capital was marred by a number of contentious VAR decisions, including a red card for Yang and a penalty for each side. The travelling support were left angered when Hoops defender Tomoki Iwata was adjudged to have handled in the area to allow the home side open the scoring through Jorge Grant - but the former referee defended the decision.

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Discussing the handball on Sky Sports News, Gallagher said: "It was harsh but what you would say is, one thing they've been consistent about in Scottish football this season, any incident like that has been penalised for handball. Harsh, very unlucky. But to their credit, every single one has been given."

His fellow pundits, former England internationals Stephen Warnock and Sue Smith, were not in agreement with the ex-ref though as former Liverpool defender Warnock cited the decision to award a penalty as "terrible". Smith added: "I don't know what he's supposed to do with his arm. He's coming down, the ball hits him, he has no idea. I don't like that decision at all."

Gallagher also agreed with the decision to send off Yang, who was dismissed for a high boot: "The player is unlucky but I think it is a red card. He has no idea where the player is, he's genuinely going to get the ball, but if you catch a player in the face with your studs, it's inevitable you're going to get a red card," explained the 66-year-old former official.

However, the Irishman was not in agreement with the first half penalty that was awarded to Celtic. Hoops' on loan forward Adam Idah saw his spot kick saved but Gallagher doesn't believe it should have been awarded anyway, calling the decision "extremely harsh".

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"I thought it was a foul the other way" said the former official. "Cochrane was in front so I find it hard to see how he commits a foul. The Celtic player goes into Cochrane" he explained.

Gallagher also shared his thoughts on a big call in the weekend game between Rangers and Motherwell at Ibrox. A late tackle by defender Dan Casey on forward Ross McAusland left Gers boss Philippe Clement incensed when the challenge was not even deemed a free kick and saw McAusland forced off the pitch.

"I don't know why (there's been no free kick). I think it is a red card. It's a really, really bad tackle. The pace he (Casey) goes in. Everything about it. The lad had to leave the pitch. Not a nice tackle" said Gallagher. His co-pundit Warnock echoed the former referee's thoughts adding: "It's a poor tackle isn't it? Even the afterwards, the way he tells the player to get up - that's a sort of signal that you know you've hurt someone" said the ex-defender.

"He's late, he is aggressive. It has to be a red card" added former Lionesses midfielder Smith.

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