Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers refused to absolve James Scott for his part in Motherwell’s controversial goal in the Hoops’ 4-1 Ladbrokes Premiership win at Parkhead.
Goals from Scott Sinclair and Odsonne Edouard had the hosts comfortably ahead by the interval but the match turned sour six minutes after the break when Stephen Robinson’s side reduced the deficit.
Celtic thought they were getting possession back from a throw-in only to see 18-year-old striker Scott, making his first league start for Well, race through to a force a save from goalkeeper Scott Bain with Gboly Ariyibi sweeping in the loose ball.
After a melee, the match continued to the soundtrack of boos from the angry Hoops fans before Edouard curled in a free-kick in the 88th minute with substitute Oliver Burke adding a fourth to take the home side back eight points clear at the top of the table.
Rodgers pointed to his 18-year-old midfielder Ewan Henderson, making his first start, when he claimed Scott should have known better.
He said: “Absolutely. He is old enough to play and start. Ewan Henderson is a kid as well. He knows exactly what he is doing, he has played in football games before.
“He will learn from that, of course I am disappointed for him because he is making his first start.
“But there is no excuse. I am disappointed for my players because we have kept clean sheets, we are domestically very focused on our defending and that is a goal against our work but more importantly goes against the ethics of the game and that is the disappointment.”
Well boss Robinson defended Scott, saying: “I think he just got caught up in it. He is a young boy, living his dream, playing football and on £200 a week. Jesus. He has made a mistake.
“He didn’t know what to say, he is dumbfounded and he has taken a lot of stick for it. He made a mistake and we will forgive him for that.
“The problem is that is going to deflect from that really good performance.”
Rodgers also suggested Robinson and his players should have allowed Celtic to walk in a goal from the restart.
He said: “I think Motherwell had an opportunity then to do something in the spirit of the game but chose not to and went on and were pressing for the equaliser.
“I didn’t ask, that’s Stephen’s job as a leader, to initiate that. They were happy enough to push on and give themselves a chance in the game.
“Referees get criticised a lot up here but you have to shine a light into the players at Motherwell, it was a real disappointing act on a sporting field.”
Rodgers straight-batted a question about the speculation linking him with Leicester.
The Northern Irishman is reportedly the frontrunner for the vacant managerial post following the departure of Claude Puel in the wake of Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace.
He said: “I was asked before the game on it and my position hasn’t changed. Since I have been here there has always been that (speculation), my focus was on Celtic and the players.”
Robinson revealed that Tom Aldred has “seven or eight stitches in his head” and his replacement Carl McHugh was taken off on a stretcher with concussion, both after challenges with Edouard.
He said: “Carl was knocked out cold and he will obviously be concussed.
“I don’t think you will write about the small section of fans that cheered when he went off on a stretcher with oxygen. But a large amount of the Celtic fans clapped him off, make a note of that.”
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