ALFREDO MORELOS has made the astonishing claim he did NOT touch Scott Brown in the first-half flashpoint incident that saw the controversial Colombian red-carded for the FIFTH time this season.
The Ibrox hitman was caught on camera during the shameful off-the-ball incident as he threw his left elbow into the Celtic skipper’s face during the champions’ 2-1 victory at Parkhead on Sunday.
Equally astoundingly, Morelos insisted the match officials didn’t see the disgraceful actions when it happened and only reacted after several Hoops players surrounded the linesman.
Referee Bobby Madden, who was up with play in the other half of the field, consulted his assistant before issuing the hot-headed forward a red card to signal his game was over in the 31st minute.
Remarkably, Morelos attempted to protest his innocence before accepting his fate and trudging off to leave Steven Gerrard’s men a man short while they were already a goal adrift following Odsonne Edouard’s brilliant solo effort.
The Govan player was even criticised by his own manager who also said he would be fined for lashing out.
But, in a remarkable U-turn, Morelos is now claiming Brown “exaggerated” contact and helped get him banished.
The 22-year-old issued a social media apology on Monday, but has given further detail during an interview to a Colombian radio station.
The Ibrox bad boy will serve a four-game ban, but, despite Brown being felled in the incident, he thinks HE was unfairly treated.
WALLOP…Alfredo Morelos slams his left elbow into Scott Brown’s face.
OUCH…the Celtic skipper hits the ground after the assault.
He told Blu Radio: “I think that with these kinds of derbies there is always a lot of adrenaline, there is a lot of aggression and they are lived with a lot of intensity.
“And all the derbies that I have played in have been like that.
“I always come into contact with the Celtic captain and I’ve always had strong contact with him and it’s always been like that.
“I didn’t touch his face and I think that he exaggerated a lot.
“Neither the referee nor his assistant saw what happened. Celtic players went over and put pressure on the linesman and then not even five seconds later the linesman told the referee to send me off.
“Like I said, I have to confront these things in the best way possible and that’s what I’m doing. I apologised publicly and, well, we have to keep moving forward, with my head held high.”
Morelos, who has been involved in a string of high-profile incidents this season, has lifted the lid on his dressing room dressing down from boss Steven Gerrard.
SEEING RED – AGAIN…ref Bobby Madden invites Morelos to leave proceedings.
The 29-goal striker admits he takes full responsibility and wants to win over his boss and the supporters once when he returns.
He added: “After the match when we were in the dressing room, everything that he said publicly he also told me in front of my team-mates, and I accepted it, I looked him in the eyes and told him that it was there was no problem.
“Like I said I take full responsibility for the day of the match. It was an error that I made and I accept that and, like I said, my team-mates support me.
“I want to respond to my manager also in the upcoming games. I need to continue, believe in myself and my team and keep doing things well and regain the confidence of my manager.
“These last 48 hours have been very hard for me, but I will try and deal with things in the best way possible and move forward. Everyone learns from their mistakes.
“We know that the press have been very critical of me with respect to the red card. I am a very positive player with a desire to move forward. This has been a lesson for me and I’ll learn a lot from it.”
Morelos has yet to score against Celtic since arriving at Ibrox in June 2017.
*DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and best images of the St Mirren v Celtic game this evening – only in your champion CQN.