No Commons ground over Celtic penalty

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NOT once during his post-match interview after the sold-out Scottish Cup clash at Stark’s Park on Sunday did Simon Mensing use the word “diver” to describe Kris Commons.

But the insinuation was clear as the Raith Rovers veteran defended his part in conceding the penalty kick that opened the door for Celtic’s passage into the quarter-finals.

0613018 SSFF raith celtic 'Simon Mensing & Kris Commons again but this time Ref Steven McLean does give a penalty - Raith Rovers against Celtic FC at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy in the Scottish Cup

0613018 SSFF raith celtic 'Simon Mensing & Kris Commons again but this time Ref Steven McLean does give a penalty - Raith Rovers against Celtic FC at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy in the Scottish Cup

Ten minutes into the second half, with a tense match locked at 0-0, referee Steven MacLean ruled that Mensing tripped Commons near the edge of the penalty box and pointed to the spot.

Commons scored the penalty himself to relieve the pressure on the SPL champions, who had been struggling to break down a packed Rovers defence amid difficult playing conditions.

Late goals from James Forrest (83) and Charlie Mulgrew (86) earned Celtic a comfortable 3-0 win in the end.

Mensing fumed: “I don’t think it was a penalty. He was doing it all over the park, and you can see he’s a clever player.

“What can you do? You only hope the officials see it.

“I know for a fact he has gone down too easy. It (contact) was minimal.

“I thought 3-0 was a bit harsh because we defended well and were solid as a team.

“Maybe we didn’t create as much as we’d have liked, but the game plan worked.

“It’s just unfortunate we were undone by a penalty.”

Commons was adamant that the decision to award a penalty was the correct one.

“You can’t trip players in the box,” he said.

“If he got the ball, fair enough, but he didn’t.

“There was definite contact with my right foot.”

Celtic manager Neil Lennon praised his team for an efficient afternoon’s work.

“We needed to go a bit more direct to take the pitch out of play,” he said.

“I felt once we got the first goal the game would open up for us and thankfully it did.

“I didn;t get a great view of the penalty. It looked soft, but the referee was right there.

“It was a good professional performance.”

Raith boss Grant Murray felt his players did well considering the standard of opposition.

“We put in a lot of effort and commitment, but we’ve lost to Champions League-quality team, so there’s no disrespect to our guys,” he said.