Brendan Rodgers wants apology from referee after mistake over blatant dive

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has told referee Don Robertson he owes Erik Sviatchenko an apology after his Dingwall gaffe.

Rodgers still feels his side were cheated out of a victory against Ross County last week after Robertson wrongly handed the hosts a last-gasp penalty.

Staggies striker Alex Schalk has been hit with a two-game ban after diving to the ground to win the spot-kick which earned his side a 2-2 draw.

Rodgers revealed he has since taken a call from the Scottish Football Association's Referee Development Officer John Fleming, who apologised for the costly error.

But the Northern Irishman reckons it is Robertson who should be saying sorry to Danish defender Sviatchenko, who was wrongly punished despite making no contact as Schalk hit the deck.

Rodgers said: "Everyone has seen the decision last weekend and as a referee, especially if you're trying to get yourself promoted in the game, you have to get that right.

"But we have to try and help the referees and try to improve the standard.

"I had a call from John Fleming, which I really appreciated and respected - because he didn't have to.

"Don Robertson doesn't have to ring me, he doesn't have to apologise to me. John did that.

"All I would say to Don Robertson is, 'Make sure you apologise to Erik Sviatchenko', because it wasn't a penalty.

"But I'm sure he will learn from it."

Controversially, Robertson will be on duty again on Sunday as the Parkhead side face rivals Rangers in the semi-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup after being appointed one of main match official Willie Collum's additional assistant referees.

Rodgers has refused to complain about that decision but warned Robertson he risks losing the trust of his players if he makes another mistake.

He said: "Do I think he should be involved in this weekend's game? Listen he's made a mistake. We all do. He needs to get out on the field and as long as he doesn't make the same one again then I'll be happy enough.

"We've seen enough decisions from the Champions League over the last week or so that have been poor decisions, so it happens. What we have to do is help referees make the best possible decisions.

"But in circumstances like [Sunday's] you have to get it right or you lose the trust of the players and that's important."

Parkhead skipper Scott Brown will be free to face Gers at Hampden after the Hoops challenged another of Robertson's weekend calls.

The midfielder was dismissed moments after the penalty row having caught County poacher Liam Boyce with a late tackle.

But even with their treble hopes resting on the semi-final showdown, Rodgers has no concerns over his captain's temperament going into the powder-keg derby clash.

"It's very important to have him available because he's a real catalyst for the team," said the manager. "I didn't think he should've been sent-off last weekend. We challenged the red card because we felt it was a yellow and also because of the the consistency of the decision.

"We had the same referee who made the yellow card decision against Motherwell when Kieran Tierney had a really bad tackle against him - Scott's was nowhere near that.

"He has played over 50 games for me this season and has been absolutely brilliant.

"I have absolutely no qualms about him playing on Sunday. He's played in countless big games for us under pressure. His temperament this season has been absolutely first class.

"He will look to be aggressive this weekend, he will look to dominate as he has always done but in the main he has kept it under control very well this season."

Sunday's game will see Rodgers go up against new Gers boss Pedro Caixinha for the first time.

But while he revealed they have already come face to face after meeting at Thursday night's under-17's Glasgow Cup final clash between Celtic and Rangers, the former Liverpool boss was not giving much else away.

"I met Pedro last night and we had a good chat at the kids' game," he said. "It was a private chat between us. But he will enjoy Glasgow as I have done.

"He will want to put in some of his own ideas to his team.

"He's brought in some of his own concepts and had a good start - but what was said after that is totally private."

KEYWORDS: soccer, cletic


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