I get why Derek McInnes was so animated in claiming for a penalty on Saturday. For the second weekend in a row, we watched Kilmarnock players put body between ball and opponent, then drop to the floor. It was a tactic that broke play up, won them possession and provided the ability to push forward into Celtic territory.
None of this constitutes foul play (see this fine example by Lint on Twitter). It was also not an incident VAR were able to get involved with. The referee saw it and made his decision. VAR is only able to get involved if a clear and obvious error has occurred. It wasn’t, it was just a decision the Kilmarnock manager didn’t like.
There are lots of caveats available when assessing the Celtic performance. The conditions were awful, which contributed to the pitch cutting up early on. We are clearly missing Greg Taylor on the left, Alexandro Bernabei looked to be a long way from Rosario under the Hampden lights.
A feature of our play the week before against Kilmarnock was low cross balls into the box, which eventually paid dividends. These were forgone at Hampden for high and aimless crossing that was never going to be productive.
We were fortunate at the first goal – fortunate that Aaron Mooy’s cross fell to Kilmarnock’s Kyle Lafferty. He chose not to attack the ball and instead let it drop before clearing into the net off the chest of Daizen Maeda.
After that moment, Kilmarnock made more of an attempt to play football, but their best chance was always going to be convincing the officials to award a penalty. It is not exactly an honourable plan, but given the disparity in quality between the squads, you see why McInnes went down this road.