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MUIR THE MERRIER? NO CHANCE!

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RONNY DEILA wasn’t entirely satisfied after Celtic went back to the top of the Premier League following the 1-0 win over Motherwell at Fir Park.

The Hoops boss believed his team should have scored a lot more goals and should not have relied on the 15th-minute effort from Nadir Ciftci.

And Deila reckoned the champions were denied two possible penalty-kicks in the second-half with Well defender Kieran Kennedy involved in both.

In the first, he flattened skipper Scott Brown with a reckless challenge and then he clearly handled a headed pass from Kris Commons that was arrowing in on the Turkish frontman, who was completely unmarked smack in front of goal with keeper Connor Ripley out of position.

Astonishingly, referee Alan Muir waved away both claims. Alan Muir? Remember him? He was the official behind the goal at Hampden last season when Josh Meekings blatantly punched a close-range header from Leigh Griffiths off the line in the controversial 3-2 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat from Inverness Caley Thistle.

Deila’s men were leading 1-0 just before the interval and were refused the opportunity to double the advantage via the penalty spot while the Highlanders would have been reduced to 10 men.

The shock defeat effectively ruined Celtic’s chances of a domestic clean sweep. To be fair to Muir, referee Steve McLean had a perfect view of the handball incident and it was his decision not to award the obvious spot-kick.

Deila wasn’t concerned about last season, though, as he reflected on a hard-fought win over Mark McGhee’s team.

The Norwegian said: “For 70 minutes, I was really satisfied.

“We should have scored more goals, we should have had at least one penalty, maybe two. For the last 20 minutes we should have been braver on the ball.

“We are on a good run now. We go into every game to win. We look forward to it and now it’s just about keeping the momentum.”

Lone marksman Ciftci, who claimed his goal after Ripley had pushed away a close-range drive from Commons, said: “We should have had two penalties, but he didn’t give them.

“I would have scored a second if not for the handball. It was a clear foul, but we didn’t get it. We really should have scored more.”

The frontman, who had scored only once before yesterday, added: “It’s great getting to the top of the table. Scoring a goal is a bonus for me. We have opened a gap at the top and I think it will be difficult for teams to catch us.

“With the squad we’ve got here, we should be in the leading position. That’s what we are concentrating on and this was an important win.”

CQN hopes Motherwell defender Kennedy had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek when he was asked about the handball incident at the end of the game.

He said: “I have to say it was ball to hand. I thought it was the right decision.”

If that guy told me today was Sunday, I would immediately check a calendar.

 
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