BRENDAN RODGERS praised his Celtic players after referee John Beaton’s “mistake” in awarding Hearts a controversial penalty-kick in the Hoops’ 2-1 win at Tynecastle.

The champions were leading through a sublime effort from James Forrest before the match official gave a spot-kick after Jamie Walker’s dive with no apparent contact with Kieran Tierney.

Walker slammed in the dodgy award, but substitute Scott Sinclair’s late winner secured three points for the Premiership champions.

Rodgers said: “It was a dubious penalty, that was clear. In fairness to the referee, he said he made a mistake.

“At least, he was big enough to admit that. 

“We had to show mentality and character in the second-half. We were super offensive in the last 20 minutes and eventually got the breakthrough.”

Rodgers was overjoyed at the impact from Sinclair, who came off the bench after 61 minutes to make his debut following his £3.5million move from Aston Villa. 

The Hoops gaffer said: “He showed typical hunger and desire to score the goal, with the speed he has shown to get into the box.

“It was wonderful play from Leigh Griffiths to set it up and Scott showed a great touch and composure to score.

“He has made a big choice to come here, but I am sure he will do well and score many more goals.

“He is a really top talent. It has been a bit difficult for him the last couple of seasons at Manchester City and Aston Villa, but he brings excitement – he gets you off your feet with his pace and trickery, and he loves scoring goals.” 

Sinclair said: “It all happened so fast. I only had three hours’ sleep on Friday, but I did the scans and bits and pieces yesterday and I made the squad. 

“It is an amazing feeling to come on and score the winner. I didn’t think I would be involved, but the manager said I was fit. 

“This is why I came to Celtic – to play games, score goals and start enjoying it again. Hopefully, it can continue.”

Rodgers admitted he wants to add “at least another two” players to his squad before the transfer window closes.

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