BROWN UNHAPPY WITH PENALTY DECISION
Celtic skipper Scott Brown has joined Neil Lennon in accusing referee Willie Collum of costing the Hoops the chance of winning the first trophy of the season - and a possible treble.
Brown, like his boss, claimed the Parkhead club should have been awarded an injury-time penalty in the Scottish Communities League Cup final against Kilmarnock at Hampden when Anthony Stokes went to ground following a challenge by Killie defender Michael Nelson.
Trailing 1-0 at the time to substitute Dieter van Tornhout's header, Brown thought Celtic were about to be handed a lifeline but watched in some disbelief as Collum booked Stokes for simulation.
The final whistle sounded soon afterwards to end Celtic's treble dreams with the trophy bound for Rugby Park for the first time in the Ayrshire club's history.
An angry Lennon afterwards described Collum's refusal to point to the spot as "criminal" and his captain was no less emphatic.
"We should have had a penalty," Brown told the Evening Times.
"Everyone knew what was happening and I think their coaching staff knew as well, but the referee somehow didn't see it.
"It was definitely not a dive and he (Stokes) has the scars to prove it.
"That would have taken it to extra-time had we scored it and we were in the driving seat at that time."
Celtic's first defeat in 27 domestic games was down to a combination of profligacy and a man-of-the-match performance by Cammy Bell.
After making a crucial early save from Gary Hooper, the Killie keeper denied Stokes later in the first-half with a wonderful save down at his left-hand post before thwarting Brown, Victor Wanyama, Georgios Samaras and Kris Commons.
"I think over the 90 minutes we were the better side, but their keeper played very well," said Brown.
"We just didn't manage to get the ball in the back of the net. But I thought we played well and kept the ball well.
"We've been flying recently, but we always knew it would be difficult against Kilmarnock.
"You have to give credit to them because they played a good game as well.
"They managed to go up the park and score and keep a clean sheet at the other end."
Lennon was hoping to become the first person to win the treble as a player and manager, having been in Martin O'Neill's Celtic side which won all three trophies in 2000-01.
Celtic could clinch the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title as early as next Sunday against Rangers at Ibrox and are in the semi-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup, where the will play either St Mirren or Hearts, but the Irishman will not give up on his dream of a clean sweep.
"It was very disappointing," he said.
"We came very close last year, we've maybe come closer this year.
"We will try to go one closer next year.
"But this has been a fantastic season.
"The standards that the players have set means that there is huge disappointment that we are not going to win the treble.
"That is the standard that they have set in the last 18 months."
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