Scottish referees like to pick on Celtic, says Hooper

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The Independent Football

Gary Hooper, the Celtic striker, believes Scottish referees give a disproportionate amount of decisions against the Glasgow side because they are "one of the biggest clubs in the world". Hooper is at the heart of the Tannadice penalty controversy, which continues to rage on more than two weeks after referee Dougie McDonald rescinded a penalty awarded to Celtic when the English forward clashed with Dundee United keeper Dusan Pernis during their 2-1 win.

Celtic wrote to the Scottish Football Association (SFA) demanding clarification over the incident but SFA chief executive Stewart Regan denied that the Parkhead club's correspondence prompted his investigation. McDonald was subsequently given a "warning" by the SFA's referees committee over his failure to properly articulate assistant Steven Craven's role in his report and in discussions with the referees' observer.

Craven, who was consulted by McDonald before the referee reversed the decision, quit the game after initially being cast as the instigator of the U-turn. Since then Craven has accused the SFA's head of referee development, Hugh Dallas, and his assistant, John Fleming, of "harassment and bullying", which was refuted by Dallas, while McDonald admitted lying to the Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, after the game.

Celtic have yet to make an official response to events but asked if he thought a disproportionate amount of decisions had been given against them, Hooper replied: "Yes, I think so. We are one of the biggest teams in the world. Everyone wants to beat us and maybe the referee wants to give decisions against Celtic so that they can tell someone they gave a bad decision against one of the biggest clubs in the world.

"All the good teams get it and they just get on with it and win games. We have to deal with it in our own way, don't react to it and just keep winning games.

"We don't really talk about the referees [in the dressing room], this is my opinion. We talk about training, getting people fit and doing it on the park. But it was a penalty. I admit he got the ball but he got me first. It doesn't matter really, we got the three points.

"It would have been a different matter if we got a draw. It's been three weeks now; we've had the Old Firm in between and we are talking about the penalty more than that game.

"Referees are not perfect, some of them will make mistakes during the game but we have to deal with it and play our football," he added.

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