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‘REF ASKED ME IF IT WAS A PENALTY,’ REVEALS GRIFFITHS

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LEIGH GRIFFTHS has revealed blundering Bobby Madden asked him if it was a penalty-kick in the late moment of controversy in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Sevco.

The ropey ref remarkably waved play on after the Celtic striker had been bundled over by desperate Clint Hill who simply lunged at him and sent him crashing to the ground as he was about to pull the trigger.

Griffiths insists Madden queried if the Ibrox defender got a touch on the ball.

Hill had sensationally levelled in the 87th minute after impressive midfielder Stuart Armstrong had fired the home side ahead before the break.

In stoppage-time, as Brendan Rodgers’ side drove on looking for the winner, the veteran centre-back knocked over Griffiths in the penalty area as the frontman was about to volley the ball left-footed at the exposed Wes Foderingham.

The Hoops star said: “It was a penalty. He has not touched the ball and the referee is asking me afterwards if he touched the ball.

“If he has not touched the ball, he has got to give a penalty or book me for diving.

“I am going to put the ball in the back of the net.

“He has caught me at waist height, he has not touched the ball. It is a decision that cost us the three points.

“Bobby Madden is the only one in the stadium who doesn’t think it is a penalty, but it is over now, we can’t dwell on it. It is another point towards the title.”

Celtic boss Rodgers claimed Hill later told him he “had got away with it”.

Asked if he had been lucky, Hill replied: “Maybe. It could have gone either way and obviously at their place nine times out of 10 he might give it.

“It was a last-ditch attempt to try to get the ball. I don’t know if I got it or not, but we deserved a bit of luck over the course of the game.”

Griffiths, who came on as a substitute for Armstrong 17 minutes from time, is now concentrating on the run-in to the campaign with the treble very much on his radar.

He said: “It wasn’t our greatest performance, but you have to give them a bit of credit because they came here and stuck to their game plan and got a point.

“For us, it was all about continuing that unbeaten run and taking another step towards wrapping up the title.

“There had been a lot of talk about us going and scoring a lot of goals, but you will have seen in our last few games against them, that Rangers (sic) have shut up shop.

“We knew that it would be a close game, that they’d come here to defend and hit us on the counter.

“But our display was poor. Hopefully, when we go to Hampden for the Scottish Cup semi-final against them next month we can show everyone what we’re all about.

“We’d been playing well before this game and it was just one of those things.

“They made it difficult for us and we had an off day, but it’s another point gained.

“There was talk from both camps about what they were going to do to us or what we were going to do to them, but we were just focused on trying to get the three points.

“Rangers knew it was going to be a hard afternoon for them and, if you’d offered them a point before the game, they’d have snatched your hand off.”

Celtic’s case wasn’t helped by a rutted surface, which, of course, will be replaced in the summer.

Griffiths added: “The manager has touched on the pitch before and we don’t want to make that an excuse. We can play on any kind of surface.

“It’s not the greatest at the moment and it’s heavy on the legs. But we’ve coped with it before and we’ll need to cope with it until the end of the season.

“But I’m feeling really good. I’m feeling fit and I’m just delighted to be back on the pitch.

“It’s been a frustrating season so far and I’m glad I’m free of injuries now. Touch wood, my calves are fine now and I can kick on from here.

“There’s been a lot of talk about rifts between me and the gaffer. But I want to set the record straight – me and the gaffer have got a great relationship.

“Listen, I spoke to the gaffer behind closed doors and I knew what he wanted from me.

“It was the exact same when Ronny Deila was here and I got the boot up the backside I needed.”

 
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