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‘REFEREES WILL NOT STOP CELTIC,’ MJALLBY

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JOHAN MJALLBY does not believe referee decisions will prevent Celtic from winning the domestic treble this season.

The former Hoops star and assistant boss to Neil Lennon insisted his old club will be good enough to clean up in Scotland, despite some howlers from match officials in Brendan Rodgers’ debut campaign.

Whistler Don Robertson will be behind a goal at Hampden on Sunday as an additional assistant at the Scottish Cup semi-final clash with Rangers.

Mjallby admits he has no issue with that. The match official blundered in gifting Ross County a penalty-kick after Alex Schalk’s blatant dive in the 2-2 draw at the weekend.

He also sent off skipper Scott Brown off for a lunge on Liam Boyce, who had earlier converted the controversial spot-kick.

The same referee also upset the Hoops support when he failed to penalise Motherwell player Ryan Bowman for a dangerous high challenge on Kieran Tierney at Parkhead.

Ronny Deila’s Celtic lost the Scottish Cup semi-final two years ago to Inverness Caley Thistle as they chased a treble when a handball by Josh Meekings on the line stopped a Leigh Griffiths header going into the net as the Hoops led 1-0.

Steven MacLean ignored the pleas for a penalty-kick and the Highland side’s defender also escaped a straight red card. Deila’s men lost 3-2 in extra-time after having keeper Craig Gordon dismissed shortly after the interval.

Mjallby said: “You get some decisions for you and some decisions against you.

“The officials do everything they can to make everything right, but it is impossible otherwise you would just have computers there making all the decisions. It is just the way it is.

“I am quite sure no-one in the Celtic camp will be thinking that way. I have never experienced that where you would walk around thinking that a referee was going to make a decision go against you and it will blow up your chances of winning a treble.

“If it happens, it happens, but that is not in your mind and it won’t be on Brendan Rodgers’ mind or the players’ minds.

“They are going out to play the game and even if they win the game on Sunday they still have another Cup game to go.2

On the topic of Robertson being involved, Mjallby said: “Of course, it is fine. He is a referee. I don’t know how many years and how many games he has been refereeing, but he is there and has been appointed to do his job and I am sure he will do his job to the utmost of his ability.”

The former Swedish international added: “Looking at the season, you have to say Celtic are favourites – not only for Sunday’s game, but to win the trophy which will mean they win the treble.

“They have had a wonderful season. Their confidence is sky-high. They have the right tempo, a lot of players are positive and have improved since Brendan Rodgers came in the door.

“But the last Old Firm game was a draw and we all know what can happen in these fixtures. Rangers will be confident they can raise their game and give Celtic a very hard afternoon.

“The new Rangers manager hasn’t changed too much yet, he’s just in the door, but they look to be quite solid in the few games they have played under him.

“They will need to be very solid defensively to have any chance of winning game on Sunday.”

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