Tony Mowbray’s post match interview with ESPN was just as bewildering as the performance that his team turned in to draw 4-4 at Aberdeen.
The watching Celtic fans were left dismayed at the final whistle as more SPL points were dropped despite going ahead three times.
The various inconsistencies of referee Iain Brines, or consistent inconsistencies, were almost forgotten in the aftermath with Mowbray’s comments adding to the confusion.
The Celtic boss explained that the decision to replace Robbie Keane with Georgios Samaras was to help out at the back against set-pieces and claimed that it could turn out to be a point gained over the weekend.
Whatever the outcome of the Rangers-Hibs match tomorrow Celtic dropped two points today and have now lost 12 points since the turn of the year.
“Quite inexplicably we gave them a lifeline, they grabbed it and it was a frustrating day for us,” Mowbray explained.
ESPN: “It was really hard to explain the handball from Braffheid at that point in the game?
Mowbray: “You saw it, I saw it, sometimes it’s difficult to explain them situations, it gave them a lifeline, they pushed very hard for an equaliser and ultimately got it.
ESPN: “Was that the disappointing factor today, you kept on letting them back into the game. I know that you have defensive problems but that must give you a real headache?
Mowbray: “It’s there, it’s evident to see. We knew before the game about our defensive problems. We didn’t stand up to what came our way. We scored some great goals and we lost poor goals from set-plays and an inexplicable penalty kick.
ESPN: “As a centre half yourself though of course…
Mowbray: “Yeah, we just ask somebody to go and head the ball, it’s not as if Aberdeen are a huge side. They don’t have great height in their side, we’re looking for somebody to take the lead today, to go and be dominant and that didn’t come to fruition.
ESPN: “Easy to look back now I guess but at 4-2 you took Robbie Keane off, you must have thought that the game was won of course, do you regret that now?
Mowbray: “No, no. Only if Robbie could help us with set plays, he’s not a giant you know. He’s not going to head corners away for us, he doesn’t even go back for them. Whereas Samaras does, he’s 6 foot 3, that was part of the thinking, we knew that they would try and put a lot of balls into our box late on, as they did, they’ve got great free-kick delivery and set-play delivery and it was important to get some physique in there. I don’t think that had any relevance to the game.
ESPN: “I know that you will fight on in the league Tony as always but it’s going to be difficult now isn’t it?
Mowbray: “I don’t know. It’s a point for us whose to say, we don’t know what the results are going to be later on or tomorrow, it may be a point gained, we’ll wait and see.
ESPN: “What did you say to the guys after that, what was their reaction in the dressing room?
Mowbray: “I’ll leave the dressing room to the dressing room and we’ll keep it there.”
The arguments about the performance, the manager and the result will rage on which will help deflect blame away from another awful refereeing performance.
Iain Brines decided to book two Celtic players for kicking the ball away, one of them after a goal. Does Brines do this in every game?
After scoring Aberdeen’s fourth goal Stevie MacLean lifted off his Aberdeen shirt and raced off the pitch into the crowd to celebrate without even being booked.
Brines took some delight three years ago in issuing a second yellow card to Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink away to Inverness Caley Thistle for celebrating with supporters WITH his shirt on.
What was the difference today?
Three weeks ago Morten Rasmussen was booked for celebrating with the supporters after scoring at Hamilton. That referee was following the letter of the law, the law that Brines forgot about today.
Aberdeen’s Mark Kerr committed two bookable fouls on Celtic players without being disciplined: in the first half it was a two footed lunge at Aiden McGeady that went unpunished then in the second half he had a swipe at Robbie Keane.
Fouls were given to Celtic on both occasions without any card being shown by Brines who seems keener on booking players for kicking the ball away. Celtic’s u-19s face Dundee United at Tannadice tomorrow for a place in the semi-finals of the SFA Youth Cup, kick-off 2pm