Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers accuses Ross County's Alex Schalk of 'blatant cheating'
Last Updated: 17/04/17 12:06am
Brendan Rodgers accused Ross County's Alex Schalk of "blatant cheating" as Celtic were denied victory in Dingwall on Sunday.
The champions were leading 2-1 when Schalk went down in the box in the 87th minute with no contact from Erik Sviatchenko and Liam Boyce slotted home the penalty to secure the draw.
An exasperated Scott Brown then slid in late on Boyce moments later and was shown a straight red card, putting his participation for next weekend's Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers in doubt.
Under Scottish Football association rules, a straight red triggers a two-match ban but, because Monday is a holiday, clubs were told in advance that all "fast-track" hearings for incidents this weekend will take place on Thursday, April 27, five days after the semi-final.
It is understood Celtic will appeal against Brown's red card, meaning he would definitely be available for next Sunday's Hampden clash.
Rodgers said: "I've seen some really bad decisions since I've come up here from referees and officials but I've got to say that was the worst one I've seen.
"Erik is nowhere near even touching (Schalk) and the referee's in a great position and so is the linesman. For him to give a penalty for that is absolutely incredible. That is blatant cheating and it's an awful decision."
Brown caught Boyce with a tackle deep in the County half in the final moments of the game and his manager believes his captain had allowed his frustration to get the better of him.
He said: "Scott was a bit late and a bit frustrated with the referee and he's gone in for the ball and been late but I think the talking point of the game is the penalty and it has cost us the win.
"We obviously wanted to win the game, but the good things is we have given some players some game time.
"Tom Rogic got some game time, Leigh Griffiths and Cristian Gamboa came in and Moussa Dembele got a start for the first time in a while."
County boss Jim McIntyre, who saw his side move three points clear of the relegation play-off place with a point, admitted his side had been fortunate with the late spot-kick.
"It's not a penalty and I can fully understand Celtic's anger and disappointment," he said. "I thought we were better in the second half and we've picked up a great point."
If the SFA decides to take retrospective action against Schalk, he could face a ban during the run-in. Hearts' Jamie Walker was suspended for two matches in August after being found guilty of diving to win a penalty against Celtic.