Craig Gordon backs Scott Sinclair over penalty controversy

Craig Gordon has defended team-mate Scott Sinclair who came under the spotlight after winning a controversial penalty in Celtic’s 2-0 Betfred Cup final win over Motherwell on Sunday.

The most contentious moment of the game at Hampden Park came just before the hour mark when the Hoops winger appeared to go to ground easily in the ‘Well box after defender Cedric Kipre put an arm on Sinclair as he raced past.

The 20-year-old Frenchman was sent off by referee Craig Thomson before Parkhead striker Moussa Dembele scored from the spot to add to James Forrest’s opener early in the second half.

Motherwell v Celtic – Betfred Cup Final – Hampden Park
Motherwell’s Cedric Kipre and Celtic’s Scott Sinclair (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson raged at the decision afterwards while Sinclair said: “I felt a tug on my arm and I went down.”

Goalkeeper Gordon, speaking at Celtic Park, backed the former Aston Villa and Manchester City player, saying: “I just seen it outside and it is the first time I have seen it.

“What I would say about Scotty is that he doesn’t go down that easily at all.

“Thinking back to the game here against Hibs he is straight through and I think it was Efe Ambrose who tried to bring him down.

“He stayed on his feet to try to have a shot at goal and they clear it away and we only get a draw when it should have been a penalty.

…The team is hungry for more! 🏆

A post shared by Scotty Sinclair (@scotty__sinclair) on Nov 26, 2017 at 12:26pm PST

“This time he does go to ground to get the penalty.

“He is always looking to shoot, perhaps even when there are passes on.

“If he had the possibility of trying to put that in the back of the net I am pretty sure he would take it.

“He is a goal scorer, he wants to score goals and if he has the opportunity to score a goal he normally tries to stay on his feet to score.”

The Scotland keeper had let in seven goals during the 7-1 Champions League thrashing by Paris St Germain in France last Wednesday night.

However, he shrugged that off going into the final and said: “I have been in the game too long now to worry about the last game going into the next one.”

Gordon pulled off a terrific save at point-blank range from Louis Moult which prevented the Steelmen drawing level.

Gordon, 34, claimed that block from the Fir Park striker’s header rivalled his reflex stop from Bolton’s Zat Knight in December 2010 when he was at Sunderland, and which was voted the best save in the Premier League’s 20 seasons.

Craig Gordon
Craig Gordon in action for Sunderland (Nick Potts/PA Images)

He said: “It is close. I didn’t win any trophy for that one.

“It may well have been three vital points on the way to avoid relegation but to do something similar in a cup final, that’s one I will remember along with that (Bolton) one.

“It seemed to deflate the Motherwell players at that time.

“We started to get on top of the game at that time, and we were all very confident at that point, especially after that save, that we were going to go and win the game.

“A few minutes later we went 2-0 up and the game was pretty much done by then.”

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