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By ESPN Staff

Celtic star Hooper hits out at controversial ref

Pressure on referee Dougie McDonald to resign will intensify after the player at the heart of the Tannadice penalty controversy claimed he should not officiate in the top-flight again.

• Kapo signs for Celtic

Celtic striker Gary Hooper was awarded a spot-kick by McDonald in the SPL game against Dundee United at Tannadice over two weeks ago following a challenge by keeper Dusan Pernis only for the referee to change his mind after a discussion with assistant Steven Craven.

Celtic wrote to the Scottish Football Association demanding clarification over the incident but SFA chief executive Stewart Regan denied that the Parkhead club's correspondence prompted his investigation.

McDonald was subsequently given a "warning'' by the SFA's referees committee over his failure to properly articulate Craven's role in his report and in discussions with the referees observer.

Prior to the findings, Craven quit the game, unhappy that he had been cast as the instigator of the U-turn and then sensationally accused the SFA's head of referee development, Hugh Dallas, and his assistant, John Fleming, of "harassment and bullying'' which was refuted by Dallas.

McDonald admitted lying to Celtic manager Neil Lennon after the game but while many believe that left his position untenable, the under-fire referee insisted he would carry on in the middle.

However, Hooper, at Celtic Park yesterday to publicise The Celtic Charity Fund's Club Couture show, in aid of breast cancer care, said: "I do not think he (McDonald) should referee in the SPL again if he is lying and he came out and said he has.

"He said in the paper that he lied to the gaffer and lied to everyone else. Maybe we won't trust him because he might make another decision that will be everywhere three weeks after the match again.

"I am shocked it is still going on. I have never seen the like of it before, everybody is still talking about it. We have had the Old Firm match and we are still talking about the penalty from Dundee. And it was a penalty. I admit he got the ball but he got me first.

"But it won't affect us, you've just got to get on with it and play your football. If we worry about that, our game slips and we lose points. Referees are not perfect, some of them will make mistakes during the game but we have to deal with it and play our football.''

The Parkhead club have yet to make an official response to events but asked if he thought a disproportionate amount of decisions had been given against Celtic, Hooper, who only signed from Scunthorpe in the summer, replied: "Yes, I think so. We are one of the biggest teams in the world.

"Everyone wants to beat us and maybe the referee wants to give decisions against Celtic so that they can tell someone that they gave a bad decision against one of the biggest clubs in the world.

"All the good teams get it and they just get on with it and win games. We have to deal with it in our own way, don't react to it and just keep winning games. We don't really talk about the referees (in the dressing room), this is my opinion.''


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