Kennedy points finger at Borna Barisic; left furious with Celtic penalty call

By David Walton

March 22, 2021

John Kennedy has accused Rangers defender Borna Barisic of knowing exactly what he was doing during the Celtic penalty controversy yesterday.

The Hoops were already 1-0 ahead thanks to Mohamed Elyounoussi’s superb diving header. However, the biggest chance to make it 2-0 came when Edouard received the ball at the back post. Instead of hitting it first-time, he cut inside and appeared to be tripped by Barisic.

Willie Collum, unsurprisingly for many, decided to give no penalty, with Rangers equalising minutes later through Alfredo Morelos. Given the pattern of the game, it was clear that a penalty would likely have killed the game had we scored it.

And it’s something that was clearly eating away at the Celtic interim boss during his post-match interview.

Speaking to Celtic TV, Kennedy said: “I can’t not mention the penalty kick, it should’ve been a penalty kick. I’ve seen it again and I’ve spoken to Odsonne as well.

“As much as people say ‘aw there’s little contact there’, if you play that in full-time the player comes in recklessly. So Odsonne’s trying to avoid that, he’s clipped in the process, six yards out from the goal. It’s a goal.

“The player knows what he’s doing, he’s in the wrong position, he knows he’s caught out, and he goes into a reckless challenge that we need to avoid. There’s been contact, and it’s a poor decision in my opinion.”

John Kennedy releasing his frustration; Borna Barisic was late and Celtic should’ve been given a spotkick

For me, too much has been made of whether there’s contact or not. Even if the contact was minimal, Barisic was late with his challenge and Edouard simply tries to avoid it.

What is the obsession over the contact if the player is late in any case? Why has Edouard to actually allow Barisic to crunch him before he gets awarded a penalty? Had Barisic got the ball then Edouard throws himself to the deck then that would merit a dive and a booking.

What we’re now trying to say is that there has to be contact. But that shouldn’t matter given Edouard has already skinned Barisic. The Rangers player then throws an obstacle in his path that he jumps over and decides to try and take the penalty over the opportunity he had.

Celtic interim manager John Kennedy / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Granted, there’s an argument to say Edouard should’ve just hit it first time. It’s one of the more frustrating elements of his game that he continues to try and take one too many touches. That was clearly on show once again yesterday afternoon.

But that doesn’t change whether it was a penalty or not. A penalty is simply a foul in the box. Anywhere else on the pitch and Willie Collum gives a free-kick. The big question mark is what he would give if it was in the other penalty box. After all, hasn’t he given rangers penalties against us that he hasn’t even seen?

It’s no wonder the Celtic supporters get so frustrated with this whistler. The inconsistency from him is baffling, and it would prove to be one of several big aspects that cost us yesterday.

In other news, there have been some worrying phone calls between the Norwegian management team and Celtic’s Kris Ajer regarding his long-term future.