Matt O'Riley accused of Celtic 'theatrics' by Rangers hero as penalty sparks debate

Neil McCann reckons Matt O'Riley earned Celtic a soft penalty with a theatrical dive.

Already 2-1 up on their ten-man rivals, the Hoops were awarded a spot kick on 55 minutes when the midfielder hit the turf after being challenged by Mohamed Diomande. There was some suggestion the kick was actually the other way around and Willie Collum was advised to take a second look on the VAR monitor.

But the referee stayed strong and stuck with his original decision. It ended up having no bearing on the outcome as O'Riley took an uncharacteristically poor penalty which Jack Butland was able to parry away to safety with a strong save. It made for an uncomfortable ending for Celts but they managed to hold on.

Reviewing the penalty decision for BBC Sportscene, McCann reckons the wrong call was made. He buys into the theory that the contact was actually made by the Celtic player and also hinted there was a dive involved.

The former Gers winger said: "I've watched it so many times. I actually think this is soft. Diomande is getting back in so he plants his foot.

"A brilliant touch by the way from O'Riley to take him out, but as he brings his leg through he kicks Diomande's foot. Now, that's not what brings him down. There's another step because he feels the contact and he throws himself down, and a bit theatrical.

"I can understand why Willie Collum has been brought because he gives the penalty, there is justification to have a look. I think he kicks Diomande and it's soft but I can understand why Willie has given it. But also, is it a clear an obvious error? I don't think it is."

Ex-Hoops midfielder Peter Grant disagreed: "I should give Neil my glasses. It's a fantastic turn by Matt. They always say to you 'get across the defender' and that's what he's done. He's going to have a shot at goal, there's no way O'Riley is going to ground without the touch.

"You can see clearly he's got the touch on him. He comes from behind, he's put his foot in there. It's a penalty kick all day long. There's absolutely no way you can get away with that."