Ross County manager Jim McIntyre seeks explanation from ref following defeat to Celtic

Leigh Griffiths celebrates after scoring Celtic's  penalty
Leigh Griffiths celebrates after scoring Celtic's penalty

Ross County boss Jim McIntyre sought an explanation from referee Willie Collum after home goalkeeper Craig Gordon survived a possible red card in Celtic’s 2-0 win over the Staggies at Parkhead.

The most controversial moment of the Ladbrokes Premiership curtain-raiser came in the 22nd minute with the home side leading through an early Leigh Griffiths penalty.

Hoops fans held their breath after the Scotland goalkeeper fouled former Celt Jackson Irvine in a ‘last man’ challenge outside the box.

However, Collum only showed Gordon a yellow card and, when midfielder Stefan Johansen made it 2-0 before the break, it effectively sealed the win for the champions.

Afterwards McIntyre went to see the official to seek answers before making his way to the post-match media conference.

He said: “It is a goal-scoring opportunity.

“But Willie felt it wasn’t an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, and that is the wording of the law.

“And if the referee doesn’t feel that, he can’t give it. So I have to grin and bear it.

“I certainly think Virgil van Dijk was getting round so I am not sure it is a red card, but Jackson could have got on to the ball and scored.

“It was a sore one because it would have been interesting if we had managed to get that.”

Hoops boss Ronny Deila was non-committal, saying: “It was a tough decision. I need to see it again.

“I can understand Ross County’s thinking in that situation.

“It is hard for the ref and hard for us who were watching. I don’t know if it is right or wrong.”

Deila was more confident in his belief that Griffiths will be fit for the second leg of Celtic’s crunch Champions League qualifier against Qarabag on Wednesday night.

There was concern inside Celtic Park when the Hoops striker came off with a knock in the 19th minute to be replaced by Stefan Scepovic.