FORMER Celtic goal hero Chris Sutton has waded into the Ibrox penalty-kick controversy by labelling the antics of Rangers striker Fabio Silva as “embarrassing”.

The on-loan Wolves player appeared to have taken a theatrical dive to earn his side a penalty-kick shortly after the interval with the champions leading 2-0 in Sunday’s dramatic six-goal stalemate.

Referee John Beaton originally booked the Portiguese forward for yet another dive after he had collpased following a challenge from Alistair Johnston.

Amazingly, VAR official Nick Walsh instructed his colleague to review the incident on his touchline monitor and the whistler returned to the field, rescinded the yellow card and awarded the hosts a spot-kick.

James Tavernier gleefully accepted the lifeline to fire the gift high past Joe Hart to kick-start his team’s revival in a dramatic encounter that ended 3-3 with the home side levelling in stoppage-time.

Sutton had his say on the matter while also taking the opportunity to fire back at Ibrox icon Graeme Souness following his aftermatch comments where he stated the ex-Celt had attempted to sway VAR official Walsh at the flashpoint moment.

The one-time England international frontman said: “I have a lot of respect for Graeme as a player, manager and pundit.

“But he is talking utter nonsense to suggest I was trying to somehow influence VAR. It would have been better if Nick Walsh WAS watching Sky Sports – as the officials might have made the right call rather than rewarding cheating.

“I don’t know what he was watching when he called Beaton to the monitor, but it certainly wasn’t the TV coverage. Even in the unlikely event if they were, I’m not sure what kind of power Graeme thinks I wield.

“Does he think I’m God? I don’t have that kind of sway, unfortunately – give me another few months!”

Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “In seriousness, it wasn’t a Celtic thing or a Rangers thing, I just called that incident as I saw it.

“If anything I suspect Graeme has the Rangers blinkers on as there is no way he’d think that was a penalty if any other team was involved.

“And, having watched it over and over again, nothing has changed my mind about the incident. It is still NOT a penalty-kick.

“Johnston clearly gets a touch on the ball and redirects its path. Silva sees the leg out and takes his chance to throw himself into it. Silva initiated the slight contact and are we supposed to reward simulation or stamp it out?

“He was rolling around all afternoon and this was another example. His behaviour was embarrassing. Beaton was close to the scene and his initial interpretation was spot on.

“He could see it in real time and he was right to show him a yellow card for yet another dive. I just can’t understand why Walsh got involved. The fact people can even debate it means it wasn’t a clear and obvious error from the referee in the first place.”

The Celtic hierarchy have written to the SFA asking for clarification on the incident and Sutton agrees with his old club that the clip of film displayed to Beaton does not feature the entire and revealing movement.

He added: “The clip shown by Sky is the clip the referee is being shown. And that is where I see a problem, as well, as that clip didn’t include the ball being knocked away by Johnston’s outstretched boot first of all.

“It was totally misleading as it wasn’t the full incident. When you watch all of it, there is not a single angle that convinces me it was a penalty-kick.”

In the aftermath of the dramatic encounter, former Ibrox player and manager Souness, speaking on talkSPORT, said: “I’m wondering, do VAR listen to the commentary during a game?

“Because I’m thinking Chris is going that strong here, he’s trying to influence whoever could be listening in the VAR studio? I thought Chris has gone that mad on this, he’s trying to influence someone in VAR.

“I can’t believe how biased Chris is when he’s talking about Rangers. He was saying: ‘It’s embarrassing, it’s not a penalty’. It was a penalty! It’s easily a penalty. It’s not even a discussion to have.”

Looks like Sutton has had the final say in this particular verbal spat.


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