McInnes still feels sense of injustice over Celtic penalty call

The Kilmarnock boss believes his side still have a chance of cup glory.

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes still feels his side were denied a crucial penalty against Celtic last season – but is optimistic he can enjoy cup success in the future with the Rugby Park side.

McInnes is preparing Kilmarnock for the Viaplay Cup last 16 tie against Celtic on Sunday and looking to build on a strong start to the season after defeating Rangers and drawing with Hearts.

The manager says he knows what it takes to enjoy success in the competition but admitted he’s still unhappy about a decision that denied his team an opportunity in last season’s League Cup.

Kilmarnock were 1-0 down to Celtic at Hampden in the semi-finals after Daizen Maeda had given the Parkhead side the lead but felt they should have had a penalty for a Giorgos Giakoumakis challenge on Joe Wright.

Their claims were denied and the Celtic striker went on to settle the tie with a 95th minute goal. McInnes hasn’t forgotten and is adamant that a clear penalty was missed.

“Last season at Hampden we felt really aggrieved that we didn’t get the chance to take it to extra-time,” he said.

“Nothing will change my mind that we should have had a penalty kick in the last minute of the game.

“Celtic were firm favourites and it is not to say they wouldn’t have gone on to win it in extra-time but we did deserve the chance to go to extra-time.

“I believe the referee was told it was maybe worth having a look at and the referee thought he seen it for what it was, he thought it was a defender trying to buy a penalty.

“But maybe he should have been told to see the incident – here’s me, let it go Derek – he should have been made to go and see the incident and if he still arrives at the same conclusion then it is down to the referee’s perception but for me it was a penalty.”

The decision rankles with McInnes not least because he felt his side had performed well against Celtic and he has taken pride in his overall record in cup competitions in his time as manager.

The former Aberdeen boss has seen his record continue with Kilmarnock and believes they can lift a trophy in the future.

“It’s about having good players and motivated players,” he said. “In the group stages we wanted to win the group, which we did do.

“It wasn’t easy in that we had to put a squad together but we won the group and you would normally look for an easier tie.

“But by the same token, if we can win this one then we’re one game away from Hampden.

“We’ve always tried to impart that to the players that there’s the opportunity to leave a legacy at a club by getting to a final and being 90 minutes away from lifting silverware.

“I would like to have won more silverware as a manager but if we can keep arriving there and keep putting ourselves in a position then hopefully that can be the case.

“I certainly feel like we can win a trophy here at Kilmarnock.”

Many of his cup runs have ended in defeat to the Glasgow giants, and McInnes said there was a danger they could always record a big win, but said he was pleased with how his sides had approached knockout football overall.

“When you go through rounds then you are going to play better teams and if you get to finals or semi-finals then you come up against good sides,” he added.

“There’s no real shame in losing to these types of teams, who enjoy huge advantages.

“I enjoyed some games more than others but Celtic do have that ability to really punish you and put you to the sword, particularly on a bigger pitch like Hampden.

“But I think over the piece I’m pleased we’ve been in a position of not getting dumped out of the cups early. We’ve always tried to go the full way.

“I think we got to about 11 semi-finals at Aberdeen and I would have liked to have had more silverware, there’s a tinge of regret with that, but there’s still plenty of time to do that.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code