Neil Lennon pointed the finger at Rangers’ indiscipline after Celtic’s 2-1 win over their Old Firm rivals at Parkhead.
Odsonne Edouard opened the scoring in the 27th minute before Gers striker Alfredo Morelos was shown a straight red card by referee Bobby Madden for throwing an elbow at Hoops skipper Scott Brown.
Steven Gerrard’s side dramatically levelled through Ryan Kent in the 63rd minute and, when Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata went off injured in the 74th minute, after Lennon had used all three substitutions, the numbers were levelled.
However, in the 85th minute James Forrest drove in the winner from 12 yards and, in the frenetic finale, Kent knocked Brown to the ground without punishment before players from both sides were involved in a post-match melee.
Gers defender Andy Halliday picked up a second yellow for remonstrating with Brown, who had celebrated in front of the 800 travelling fans, while Scott Arfield was booked during the game along with Brown, Edouard and Jonny Hayes.
Celtic interim boss Lennon – who confirmed Boyata had picked up a “bad hamstring injury” – responded afterwards to a question about a heated game.
“Not from us,” said the Northern Irishman. “Brown got elbowed and he got punched in the face or pushed in the face. It was disgraceful.
“You can’t put the two in the one basket. Our players kept their discipline very well and really Rangers should have been down to nine men rather than 10.
“If there has been a bit of heat after the game then we will deal with it and if I have to discipline some players then so be it.
“But during the 94 or 95 minutes my players were exemplary in their discipline – theirs weren’t.”
Celtic’s win took them 13 points clear of Rangers at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership with seven fixtures remaining.
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard questioned Brown for going to the small band of Gers supporters at the final whistle.
However, former Celtic captain and manager Lennon said: “I didn’t see the celebration.
“I don’t know where he went. He takes a lot of flak, maybe he is giving a little bit back.
“But again, he is the bad boy. He is just giving a little bit back after the amount of abuse he takes throughout the years and I understand it because I have been there myself a few times.”
It was Lennon’s first Old Firm game in his second tenure in the dugout and he admitted an afternoon of “endurance” ended well.
He said: “It has been a long time since I have been in the dugout in a Celtic versus Rangers game.
“It was fraught but we scored two great goals. It was a fantastic result, a brilliant win.
“It was a cracking Glasgow derby and I am delighted we came out on the positive side of it.
“Overall I thought we deserved it but obviously when Rangers scored they gained a psychological edge but we came through and scored a great goal to win it.”
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