Raith cry foul over Celtic's last-gasp goal

Click to follow
The Independent Online


Celtic 2 Raith Rovers 1 After extra time; 1-1 at 90 min

Raith Rovers released their grip on the Coca-Cola Cup they won so dramatically last season after a penalty shoot-out against Celtic.

However, the manner of their defeat left Jimmy Nicholl, the Raith manager, crying foul and claiming Celtic had broken the unwritten law of modern- day sportsmanship.

Deep inside injury time, Scott Thomson, the Raith goalkeeper, sent the ball out of play to allow treatment to a Celtic player, but on the restart Pierre Van Hooijdonk, who was deep inside the Raith half, headed the throw in out of play instead of allowing the ball to run to the Raith defenders.

Under pressure, Raith lost possession from the throw, Thomson parried an Andy Walker shot and Simon Donnelly whipped the loose ball into the unguarded net.

Nicholl said: " I thought it was a shocking show of sportsmanship. If that sounds like sour grapes, I'm not bothered."

Nicholl's side were still in the game at that stage thanks to Thomson, who pulled out several important saves. He was beaten, however, in the 52nd minute in spectacular fashion when a 25-yard free-kick by Van Hooijdonk exploded past him into the net via the underside of the crossbar.

A similarly potent free-kick in the 77th minute by Tony Rougier, Raith's Trinidadian striker, took the game into extra time before reaching its dramatic denouement.

Celtic (4-4-2): Marshall; Vata, Hughes, Boyd, McKinlay; Collins, McLaughlin (Donnelly, 68), Grant, O'Donnell; Van Hooijdonk, Thom (Walker, 60). Substitute not used: Bonner (gk).

Raith Rovers (4-5-1): Thomson; Kirkwood, Dennis, Sinclair, Broddle; Rougier, McInally (Wilson, 60), Lennon, Cameron, Dair (Graham, 60); Crawford. Substitute not used: Coyle.

Referee: L Mottram (Forth).