Former Celtic keeper Packie Bonner believes Aberdeen have every right to feel aggrieved over the award of Jota’s winner during the 3-2 thriller at Pittodrie.
Ange Postecoglou’s side were 2-0 up and cruising but they needed a second goal on the night from their Portuguese star after a spirited fightback from the hosts.
But the decision to allow Jota ‘s strike incensed Aberdeen’s players, coaching staff and supporters who were convinced Liel Abada was offside and then interfered with play..
Bonner could see Aberdeen’s complaint but Aberdeen icon Willie Miller admits he won’t be crying over the decision that keeps the Premiership leaders one clear of Rangers.
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The pair, speaking on Sportsound, admitted they could see the funny side of swapping colours.
“The big talking point, of course, is the third goal (for Celtic).
“And just talking to Willie about it, we have different views on it, to a point.
“It’s incredible, I think Aberdeen have got a case, Willie thinks they don’t have a case, he was standing in an offside position, of course, that he was standing still and Bates runs into him.
“I just think when you’re in that area, you’re in the situation, you’re almost interfering with the play.
“And i would think then, if I was in that situation (of the linesman), I would probably be calling the referee for a free-kick rather than the goal.”
“If I played for Aberdeen I would be complaining about it as well, there’s no doubt about it!
“The question is, should it have been called offside or not?
“We see it all the time where players are in an offside position but they just stand still and I think that’s what Abada did, so I don’t think that it is offside.
“It was tight, but he didn’t touch the ball, Bates runs into him, I don’t think he makes an attempt to stop Bates.”
“If you’re giving an example of interfering with play then this is it.
“He literally blocks the defender and he can’t put in a challenge.”
“First of all, you’ve got to credit Celtic for getting themselves back in front, but there’s a huge element of controversy around it.
“I do think Liel Abada is in an offside position and he does affect the game.
“Celtic really go after it – they’d let themselves down and got Aberdeen back into the game.
“But when you see (the third goal) on the reverse angle – looking right along the line, Ross McCrorie’s the deepest lying player for Aberdeen in the right-back area and you can see Abada is offside.
“When that ball comes back into the box, he blocks David Bates from getting back in to challenge Jota for the ball.
“I do think if Abada wasn’t there, it’s pretty clear Bates would’ve been able to go and challenge and perhaps flick the ball away.
“It’s good play from Celtic to be able to react so quickly.
“(Should it have stood?) I don’t think so, personally.
“The other thing is – and Ange Postecoglou goes on about this all the time, focusing on individual incidents – there was one in the first-half where Jota was flagged offside and he scored, he knocked the ball past the goalkeeper.
“He was probably onside in that one, so perhaps they’ve balanced themselves out in that game.
“But you can understand why Aberdeen were raging at that moment.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.