Clement: Rangers' disallowed goal a 'grey area' in Celtic defeat

Rangers boss Philippe Clement says Abdallah Sima’s disallowed goal in their Scottish Cup final defeat to Celtic was not “black or white” but a “grey area”.

Celtic beat their rivals at Hampden Park thanks to Adam Idah’s 90th-minute winner but only after Rangers had a goal ruled out following a VAR check.

Sima turned home from James Tavernier’s corner in the 59th minute before referee Nick Walsh consulted the pitchside monitor and chalked it off due to a push on Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart by Nicolas Raskin.

The incident came after Rangers had a penalty appeal turned down during the first half when Liam Scales pushed over Dujon Sterling in the box which Clement thought was more obvious.

Abdallah Sima bundles the ball into Celtic's net only for his effort to be ruled out by VAR
Sima bundles the ball into Celtic’s net only for his effort to be ruled out by VAR

“If I compare with the push that [Liam] Scales gives to [Dujon] Sterling in the first half, it’s a much bigger push than what happened with Joe Hart,” said Clement.

“If I see also how all the Celtic players are grabbing my players with their arms around their neck and waist, it’s a really big call to make to disallow that goal.

“It’s [the officials’] decision and they’re honest in their decisions. It’s a grey area that one, it’s not black or white.”

Abdallah Sima celebrates only for his effort to be subsequently ruled out by VAR
Sima celebrates only for his effort to be subsequently ruled out by VAR

Clement wasn’t prepared to blame his own goalkeeper Jack Butland for parrying Paulo Bernardo’s shot into the path of Idah to score the winner.

“No, I don’t think,” he said after being asked if Butland was at fault. “It’s a really difficult shot. Jack was really good in the rest of the game and Joe Hart was really good. You can always say he could have pushed the ball to the side but it was [swerving]. That’s an unlucky moment.”

Clement claimed the opposition admitted Rangers were the better side after mounting periods of pressure in the second half.

“The general thought is that you’re disappointed that you lost because even people of Celtic were saying we were the better team today,” he said. “It’s mixed feelings, you’re disappointed because you did everything to win but I’m also proud of what the team has shown.

“We got two shots on target [against], we got a goal and created six shots on target. We need to score in that moment. And then if you have the scenario where you score a goal and they are disallowed that’s also a disappointment.”

Adam Idah celebrates after scoring Celtic's late winner in the Scottish Cup final
Adam Idah celebrates after scoring Celtic’s late winner

The Rangers boss said his team should have put the game beyond Celtic in the second half but that they were hampered by the lack of sharpness from their forwards.

“I expected more from my players because you feel in that moment you’re grabbing the game and there was a lot of space in the transitions and we didn’t kill it off there,” he said.

“But I know where my players are coming from, you guys have asked a lot of questions about all the injuries. The squad is not at their best now, some players are coming out of injury. You see in the decisive moments a really fit Sima or [Rabbi] Matondo will finish off one of those chances. That was not the case.

“It’s about one small detail and one big decision. Otherwise, you go 1-0 in front and we were the better team in that moment. I don’t think we could have done much more. We could have done some things better but that’s the same for the other side. I don’t think they expected this type of game.”

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