Rangers train ahead of Braga Europa League second leg
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Ex-Celtic striker Chris Sutton has slammed Old Firm referee Bobby Madden after an ’embarrassing’ display in the Hoops’ defeat to bitter rivals Rangers. The Scottish Cup semi-final match-up went all the way to extra time before the Gers grabbed the winner, and that is not the only reason Celtic’s fans came away from the showdown angry.
Madden’s controversial showing began when Rangers striker Kemar Roofe was shown yellow for a foul on Daizen Maeda. Sutton fumed during the game in the belief that he should have been sent off for what he saw as a shin-high tackle.
Rangers midfielder John Lundstram was also deemed to have escaped a booking after a trip on Callum McGregor, while Madden was again scrutinised for the ‘soft’ free-kick that led to Greg Taylor’s opening goal.
“Celtic were poor but Bobby Madden turned in one of the worst refereeing performances I’ve seen in Scotland for a long time,” vented Sutton on Twitter after the game, “And that’s saying something!!!”
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Sutton was similarly animated during the match, fiercely debating with former Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson over the notion that Roofe had dodged a red card. “He’s just embarrassing himself, Bobby Madden,” he added.
Indeed, Taylor’s opener was cancelled out by Scott Arfield in the 78th minute, which sent the tense derby clash into extra time. A Carl Starfelt own goal then sparked absolute bedlam in the Rangers end with around five minutes to play, and the Hoops ran out of time to mount a comeback at Hampden Park.
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The scoreline was a mirror reverse of the Old Firm played out just two weeks ago at Ibrox, which was marred by crowd trouble. On that day Tom Rogic and Cameron Carter-Vickers put Celtic in control of the title race, and the two sides only have to wait until May 1 for another fearsome showdown.
Victory caps off a great week for Rangers who overcame a Europa League first-leg deficit against Braga to advance to the semi-finals. A two-legged tie against RB Leipzig lies on the horizon as Gio van Bronckhorst enjoys a deep European run during his debut campaign as manager.
Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou, meanwhile, will be forced to pick up and dust down his side after a painful defeat. “It was a tight game, I don’t think either side really dominated for a great period,” he said after the final whistle, “It’s the nature of a semi-final, there’s a lot at stake and they tend to be games where people are afraid to make mistakes.
“It ends up being a bit of an arm wrestle and we didn’t have enough to get it over the line. You can be disappointed without being critical, it’s a disappointing day for us because it was an opportunity for us to get to a final.”
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