Rodgers has 'no regrets' over referee comments that brought SFA charge

The Celtic boss faces a touchline ban over post-match remarks following the defeat to Hearts.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers insists he has no regrets about criticising officials following his side’s defeat to Hearts, despite the Scottish FA charging him with breaking their rules.

Rodgers faces a touchline ban after saying that his team suffered from “really, really poor officiating” in the 2-0 defeat at Tynecastle and that he worried for Scottish football because of the “level of incompetence”.

He will face a disciplinary panel later this month and Celtic say they will robustly defend the case. Asked on Friday if he regretted saying what he did, the manager was clear in his position.

“No, not at all,” he said. “My job is to defend the team, defend the club and that’s what we will do in this case.

“We will defend it vigorously and when the date comes we will go from there. I will sit down with the club and the lawyers and we will look at it from there.”

Rodgers added that Celtic received the Scottish FA report on the game earlier this week. He says that for the incident that saw Yang’s yellow card upgraded to a red card after a high foot, the report stated that the winger’s studs and boot had made contact with Alex Cochrane’s face, despite that being “clearly not the case”.

“I said it after the game, and it’s that one game, but it’s my observation over many games, primarily over the inconsistency of decisions,” the Celtic boss said.

“I don’t want to go into it much. I never talk much about referees and I haven’t done throughout my career.

“I understand referees make mistakes but I felt the ones last week were clear errors in the game.

“The first one, I’ve seen incidents worse than that. And I felt the on-field decision was correct with the yellow card.

“We had a report back to say that the studs and boot was in the face of the player. Clearly, and it’s a couple of days later when we get that report back, it’s clearly not the case when you watch that.

“We’ll go through that and answer that later in the month.”

The Celtic manager also shared his thoughts on the departure of Israeli winger Liel Abada, who left the club for Major League Soccer side Charlotte FC earlier this week.

Abada made the move after a difficult spell in Glasgow, when the 22-year-old was put under pressure from his homeland because of the public displays of pro-Palestine sentiment in the Celtic support.

“Firstly, it’s desperately sad, the whole situation,” Rodgers said. “A fantastic player who comes in here as a 19-year-old to another country and he lit up the field with so many goals and had a fantastic period.

“Whatever doubts he had in the summer, he was really happy to commit and signed a new deal. Now through no fault of his own or the clubs he has had to leave to take his career elsewhere.

“I spoke to Liel on Monday and had him round the house because I knew he was going to be travelling the next morning.

“Really, really sad because I was looking forward to working with him over a period of time to see if we could improve and develop his game.

“If you look back, he’s created some wonderful memories with Celtic and I’m sure Glasgow will have a big place in his heart. We wish him all the best.”

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