[media-credit name=”© Liam McFadden | Scotzine” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]Anthony Stokes was bundled to the ground inside the Kilmarnock box in the dying minutes of the League Cup Final at Hampden by Michael Nelson, but rather than seeing a penalty being awarded for what was a stonewall penalty kick, Willie Collum brandished a yellow card to Anthony Stokes for diving.
Speaking before news filtered through of Kilmarnock midfielder Liam Kelly’s dad, Lennon slammed Collum’s decision: “It’s a stonewall penalty. It’s a shocking decision, absolutely shocking. He is clean through, holding the boy off, the guy lunges at him and he takes his legs away. The defender doesn’t get anywhere near the ball so it’s a penalty and a red card in the final minute of the game where we have banged away at the door. For me it’s a criminal decision and it has cost us the treble.”
Lennon’s post-match comments may come back to bite him, but he added: “I have only just seen the incident again there on the TV five or ten minutes ago from every angle. So how he can make that decision from where he was I don’t know. To rub salt in the wounds he books Anthony for diving, which is awful. Awful refereeing.”
“We battered away, all you want are the officials to do their jobs properly. The penalty is a penalty, he is clean through on goal and there is no way Stokes would go down clean through on goal. Nelson’s reaction is one where he knows he has given a penalty away so he is hugely relieved. I couldn’t believe the decision myself.
“I shook Willie’s hand after the game because I wanted to act in a dignified manner. Overall he had a decent game but that is a big call in a cup final at a huge moment when we haven’t much time left. For me he has got it wrong. I may speak to John Fleming and get his opinion. They might see it differently, but from my point of view it’s a penalty.”
[media-credit name=”© Liam McFadden | Scotzine” align=”alignleft” width=”255″][/media-credit]Irish striker Anthony Stokes, denied the penalty by Collum, echoed his manager’s views, he said: “It’s a stonewall penalty as far as I’m concerned. Did I seek an explanation? You never get any off the refs up here, so I don’t expect anything different this time.
“I just don’t know how I’ve got booked for diving. The boy caught me. He said himself that even he couldn’t understand how it wasn’t a penalty. But, obviously, the ref has seen something different. Their defender said he caught me. I knew that myself but there is not much I can do about it.”
“I was one-on-one with the keeper and I’m not on penalties. I don’t take them. I’d have fancied my chances of scoring from where I was. I’ve lost the head when he’s come over and shown me the card. As far as I was concerned, it was a stonewaller.”
Controversy, Willie Colum and Celtic, all in the same sentence has hit the headlines before. In October 2010, the referee award a dubious penalty to Rangers in the Old Firm derby match, which Rangers won 3-1. He adjudged that Swedish defender Daniel Majstorovic had fouled Rangers’ Kirk Broadfoot in the box, however replays showed not only had Broadfoot dived for the penalty, the referee was not even looking in the direction of the incident when he awarded the penalty.