Nikola Katic admits he can't complain about Celtic's penalty decision

By David Walton

December 30, 2019

Rangers’ matchwinner yesterday Nikola Katic has admitted that he can have no complaints over the first-half penalty award for Celtic.

The Ibrox defender headed home the winner on 56 minutes at Parkhead yesterday. Yet there’s no denying we had a glorious chance to change the course of the game towards the closing stages of the first 45.

Katic pulled on Chris Jullien’s jersey in the box and Celtic were rightfully awarded a penalty. Ryan Christie stepped up and saw his spot-kick saved by Allan McGregor. Frustratingly, the strike was at a great height for the Rangers goalkeeper to claw away.

Ryan Christie just didn’t make the impact we all would’ve liked (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

As for the decision itself, Katic has effectively admitted it was a penalty. Speaking in the Scottish Sun, he said the following:

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“Was I worried? Almost. It was the referee’s decision and maybe yes it was a penalty, maybe no. But Allan McGregor saved me and he saved the team. It was done and I can’t complain about it. Well, I did, but it’s done and it doesn’t matter.”

That was the moment for Celtic

If Christie had sent McGregor the wrong way and fired Celtic 1-0 ahead, it’s a totally different game. Questions would’ve been asked of Rangers, and you wouldn’t have put it past us to have sprung into life a bit more.

For that reason alone the penalty marks our big moment in the game. It was a stroke of luck we didn’t deserve at the time given our slow start. Celtic have, over the treble-treble years, been known for striking when they get an opportunity. That just wasn’t the case yesterday.

Celtic couldn’t get going yesterday (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

What was more disappointing was how Christie drifted out of the game after it. It was almost as though the penalty had rocked him. Whilst he wasn’t exactly an influential figure in the contest beforehand, he still got on the ball regularly. He had an early effort fly over the bar after finding some room, before seeing another strike blocked after intercepting a Rangers attack to spring a counter.

Ryan didn’t show that mentality we need from our big-game players in matches of this calibre. We know he has the quality to hurt Rangers, but his penalty seemed to sum up the day for him.

Christie will need to step up in the derbies in 2020 (Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

He’ll be back for more, as will this Celtic team. It’s worth remembering that we won at Ibrox whilst heading into that game as the underdogs back in September. There’s nothing to suggest we can’t do it again so long as we invest in the squad over January.

The January break will do Celtic a power of good, but in future derby matches, Christie needs to start stepping up and play the role we know he can.