Rodgers refuses to blame Brown after late red card
Celtic skipper Scott Brown was sent off after being mobbed by fans after his late winner against Kilmarnock (pic: SNS Group)
Celtic captain Scott Brown was sent off after celebrating with supporters following his late winner at Kilmarnock which opened up an eight-point lead over Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
The midfielder’s 90th minute shot was deflected into the Killie net, sparking scenes of wild celebration among the travelling support behind Daniel Bachmann’s goal.
An ecstatic Brown and several team-mates were mobbed by jubilant fans as they spilled over the advertising boards. Referee Bobby Madden, though, didn’t take kindly to the skipper’s role in the celebrations and showed him a second yellow card.
Manager Brendan Rodgers later described the dismissal as ‘harsh’, while criticising those supporters who had encroached onto the pitch.
“I always think it’s unfortunate for players,” he said. “Of course there’s the reaction from him going to the crowd. But with it being at the end of the game and the emotion of it I always think it’s harsh for a player to get sent off. There’s no blame. I can’t blame him. I thought he was excellent.”
He added: “It’s another step. There’s what, 12 games to go? Still a lot of games, still a lot to play for. But I think on the back of our midweek game, which was a really, really tough game with the exertions of that physically and mentally, this is as hard a place as you can come to with the surface and everything else.
“So to come through that with a clean sheet and get the three points was very pleasing.”
Brown was in the thick of things throughout the Rugby Park clash, Kilmarnock’s Kirk Broadfoot sent off for a lunge on the midfielder 15 minutes from time.
The Scottish FA, meanwhile, will probe reports that the home side’s Kris Boyd was allegedly the subject of sectarian abuse and was also reportedly struck by a coin while warming up as a substitute.
Doyle lets slip
There was more controversy at Fir Park as Hearts finished with 10 men and crashed to a late winner at Motherwell in Sunday’s early kick-off. Defender Ben Garuccio was dismissed on the 90th minute after a two-footed tackle on Liam Grimshaw.
From the resultant free-kick, Hearts keeper Colin Doyle made a mess of collecting David Turnbull’s free-kick, allowing the ball to bounce past him and over the line to clinch the Steelmen’s sixth straight win. Steven Naismith had earlier cancelled out Jake Hastie’s 13th minute opener.
Rangers lost ground at the top after a goalless draw at home to St Johnstone, while Aberdeen had to rely on a 77th-minute goal from Sam Cosgrove to rescue a point from a draw against St Mirren at Pittodrie.
Struggling Dundee came from behind to beat Livingston, Scott Wright netting the decisive goal seven minutes from time in West Lothian.
The Lions had earlier been reduced to ten men when Shaun Byrne was red carded with just 14 minutes on the clock.
New Hibs manager Paul Heckingbottom earned his first win since taking over at Easter Road, the Leith side beating Hamilton with first-half goals from Florian Kamberi and Mark McNulty.
Scores: Motherwell 2 Hearts 1, Kilmarnock 0 Celtic 1, Rangers 0 St Johnstone 0, Hibs 2, Hamilton Accies 0, Livingston 1 Dundee 2.