BRENDAN RODGERS has ramped up the tension ahead of his appearance at Hampden on March 28.

The Celtic boss, of course, has been summoned by the SFA to explain his remarks following the champions’ controversial 2-0 loss to Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend.

The encounter was peppered with perplexing decisions from referee Don Robertson after bizarre interventions from VAR assistant John Beaton in two first-half incidents when Hoops winger Yang Hyun-jun was red-carded and the hosts awarded a phantom penalty-kick.

On neither occasion was there a “clear and obvious error” and there should have been no requirement of an intervention from the technical guru in front of the multi-screens in Glasgow.

PENALTY-KICK PUZZLER…the ball brushes Tomoki Iwata’s arm as the Japanese midfielder, Alistair Johnston and Hearts’ Stephen Kinglsey contest a high ball at Tynecastle.

The gaffer and Celtic are ready to lock horns with the Scottish football rulers later in the month when the Irishman faces a two-game ban which would remove him from the touchline for the visits to Livingston on March 31 and Ibrox on April 7.

Looking again at the spot-kick award in Edinburgh, an unrepentant Rodgers emphasised: “Anyone who watches football will look at the penalty and know that there’s absolutely no way on this earth that it’s a penalty.

“That’s obviously the frustration and that’s the emotion that you guys [media]don’t feel. After a game when you’ve seen something like that and you are asked to comment on it.

“Most of the time you don’t. But that was something I felt was pivotal.”

Rodgers was clearly frustrated that two of the SFA’s most experienced officials had been involved with the debatable decisions that blew any chance the Parkhead side had of going back to the Premiership pinnacle.

FIRST BLOOD…Jorge Grant sends Celtic keeper Joe Hart the wrong way to net the controversial spot-kick and give Hearts the lead.

Answering innuendo that there is an issue with Beaton following a series of inexplicable decisions from the individual over the years the Irishman has been at Parkhead, Rodgers, speaking to the Daily Record, said: ”No. No, we’re all accountable. Everyone knows he was in the VAR.

“So it’s not a secret – I haven’t mentioned someone who would never have been known.

“My point was more that it was someone of that experience who looked at it. John’s been around for a while now – he’s refereed big games. So, I wasn’t calling John out for his name to be out there.

“It was more: ‘This is a top referee managing the game and supposedly a top referee in VAR, under no pressure.’ But they still got it wrong. That’s the bigger worry for me.

“John’s refereed games that he’s been really good in. So, I don’t have an issue with that.

“I’m talking about that one game and that was my view of that game. It’s not about anything else. Let’s focus on the football and on making good decisions.”

SEEING RED…Don Robertson dismisses a bemused Yang Hyun-jun while Hearts’ Kye Rowles shows his pleasure.

Repeating his thoughts on Robertson and Beaton, Rodgers added: “If you work together as a team and you have experience then hopefully you get to the right decisions.

“It was a big game. That’s clearly why they were on it. So, you’re hoping then for the big decisions to be right. And, honestly, I didn’t even think they were big decisions – they had big consequences – but they weren’t big decisions.

“Not when you actually know the referee has given the right one in the game [yellow card for Yang].”

Rodgers will now shelve his thoughts on the SFA double-act until his visit to the sixth floor at the national stadium to concentrate on the Scottish Cup quarter-final against Livingston in Glasgow tomorrow afternoon.


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