Rangers manager Philippe Clement insists his side should have been given a penalty against Celtic and that “a mistake was made” by the refereeing team.
Paulo Bernardo and Kyogo Furuhashi scored for Celtic before ten-man Rangers pulled a goal back through James Tavernier in a 2-1 defeat at Celtic Park.
But speaking after the game, Clement was unhappy about a flashpoint in the first half, with Celtic 1-0 ahead.
Celtic defender Alistair Johnston’s hand made contact with the ball as he challenged Abdallah Sima but referee Nick Walsh didn’t give a penalty and wasn’t asked to review the incident by VAR.
Broadcasters were later told that Sima was offside before Johnston’s intervention but Clement was not convinced by that explanation.
“My biggest frustration is that when there’s a clear hand ball, why isn’t a penalty given?” the Rangers boss asked. “Because that’s a clear thing. I’m curious about that.
“The decision about the penalty needs to be more clear because that’s a clear handball.
“First, there was no communication towards me. Second, if that was the communication, I’m not a referee but I think there’s a clear [physical] signal for VAR and offside that everyone knows what happened.
“There was no communication about that, in that moment. I don’t believe that. Otherwise, the signal of the referee is not correct.
“There is a mistake. It’s clear for everybody.
“It is what it is, and I also make mistakes, but it’s an expensive one today.”
Reflecting on the game as a whole, Clement was pleased with how his side played, noting that they had made progress since his arrival in October. While disappointed by the result, he felt that fine margins separated the sides and that Rangers made enough chances to win the match.
“I think this was a good promotion for Scottish football,” the Belgian said. “There were two teams, who attacked, who wanted to win and were creating chances.
“Of course I need to look at my side and I am happy at what they showed today. They had more shots than Celtic today but we didn’t take any of our moments and Celtic was more efficient on the day.
“These are games that are in balance. You can lose them like we did today, we could have drawn or won the game.
“I’m really disappointed that we didn’t get a penalty in the first half. It’s a situation that is very important in the game and if you go into the dressing room at 1-1, it’s another story.
“But despite that, my team reacted. In the second half, after the world class goal, a very good goal that you can’t do too many things about, we never stopped.
“Even with ten men we kept going and we created enough chances. We went until the end and everyone became nervous.
“I see a team that’s growing, a squad growing with resilience and mentality and quality on the ball also.
“In the end, if circumstances don’t fall on your side, you can lose points in league games.”
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