ABERDEEN boss Derek McInnes believed his team were done out of a point as they lost 1-0 to champions Celtic at Pittodrie.
And he insisted he witnessed enough from his players to stop the Parkhead side’s hopes of a treble in Brendan Rodgers’ debut season.
The clubs will meet in the Betfred League Cup Final at Hampden on November 27 and the league leaders are already hot favourites to lift the silverware.
But McInnes isn’t convinced and he lamented match official Steven McLean’s decision to ignore a tug by Jozo Simunovic on Graeme Shinnie as he homed in on goal chasing a late equaliser following Tom Rogic’s opener midway through the first-half.
He said: “The referee should give a penalty for the foul on Shinnie. Having seen it again, Simunovic pulls him.
“Shinnie should be rewarded even for his honesty in trying to stay up when Erik Sviatchenko comes across to make the tackle.
“We lost the other night at Hamilton to a goal when a player went down without contact.
“Now, we still have 80-odd minutes to do something about it, I get that, but Shinnie doesn’t go down after being pulled back and should be rewarded for his honesty. It’s a penalty.
“I thought Celtic were hanging on. I applaud them for winning the game and they had real quality from Tom Rogic for the goal, but I thought we deserved something from the game.”
Asked if he’d seen enough to believe Dons could reverse that result at Hampden, McInnes answered: “Yes. I still think we can improve.
“We’re disappointed because when you put so much thought and effort into a game you want some kind of reward for it. I do believe the margins were fine, though.
“Now we have to get a couple of wins and find some good form before we go into a Cup Final.”
Celtic were left confused by some of the refereeing decisions themselves with many supporters questioning quite where Steven McLean found an extra five minutes to add on despite there being no injury stoppages in the match.
He also managed to add near enough another two minutes to that as Aberdeen pressed furiously for an equaliser in a match that Celtic should have won comfortably had they taken their chances.
Yesterday’s results have seen Aberdeen drop down to fourth in the SPFL Premiership with Rangers, on 19 points, a point ahead of the Dons in second place. Hearts are also on 18 points in third spot as are St Johnstone in fifth spot.
Celtic are nine points clear on 28 points and have a game in hand.