ROSS COUNTY boss Jim McIntyre was upset by a “reckless” challenge from Celtic keeper Craig Gordon in his side’s 4-0 loss to the champions and runaway Premiership leaders in Dingwall last night.
The Scotland shotstopper was booked by referee Alan Muir after colliding with the Highland side’s striker Liam Boyce just outside the penalty area with Brendan Rodgers’ men 1-0 ahead at the time.
McIntyre said: “I think it’s high, it’s reckless. If it’s an outfield player he might be going off the park.”
Rodgers, though, saw it another way. He replied: “He’s jumped and mistimed it. The ball’s going away from the goal. It was a good decision by the referee.”
McIntyre insisted the incident was “the second time he’s dodged a bullet against us”. He added: “He had one last year at Parkhead on Jackson Irvine.”
Of the game, McIntyre was pleased with how his side had competed for long spells, with the visitors scoring three goals in the last 10 minutes through Stuart Armstrong, Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele after Patrick Roberts’ early opener.
He added: “We were well in the game. We made good opportunities to score, but Celtic have shown how clinical they can be.
“We’ve certainly done a lot of things right on the night. The players were excellent. We got off to the worst possible start, but the reaction was excellent from us.
“The players were brave. We were far more like ourselves. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve created so many chances.
“That level of performance and intensity, if we can produce that on a more regular basis, which I know we can, then the players should take real belief from that.”
Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland after the match Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for the Ross County performance, with the Irishman describing the Staggies as the “definitely best Scottish side we have faced this season.”
Rodgers was clearly pleased at what turned out to be an emphatic scoreline and was full of praise for his Celtic players, both the ones rested and the squad players who were given a chance to shine.
Talking about the changes from Sunday energy sapping Cup Semi-Final victory over Rangers at Hampden Rodgers said:
“The game was getting stretched in that last half hour, so we introduced a bit of speed into the game.
“We changed the shape of the team and went with three at the back which was good for us because we could then stretch it with Scott Sinclair and his speed out wide on the left and Patrick Roberts on the other side.
Rodgers intends to bring back his big guns from the start at Pittodrie on Saturday lunchtime as the Champions aim to go 10 points clear with a game in hand.
“They’ll be fresh for the weekend and that was the plan. It couldn’t have gone any better. The game was played at a good tempo.
“We know Aberdeen will be a hard game – all the games have been that way. The scoreline looks good, but that’s a credit to the players for their spirit, work and quality.”