Ross County forward Liam Boyce has defended team-mate Alex Schalk from accusations he cheated to earn the Staggies a penalty in yesterday’s 2-2 home draw against champions Celtic.
Schalk tumbled under no contact from Hoops defender Erik Sviatchenko in the final minute of yesterday’s game at Victoria Park, with Boyce scoring the penalty to deny the champions all three points.
The Dutchman was accused of cheating by Hoops manager Brendan Rodgers and could face disciplinary action if cited for diving by SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan.
Boyce claims he did not see the incident but understands why his team-mate hit the deck.
He said: “I was in the box waiting on the cross, so I didn’t see it, I just heard the whistle and went straight for the ball.
“I haven’t seen it back yet, so I’ll have to wait and see if it was or wasn’t a penalty. All I was concentrating on was scoring the penalty.
“These things happen in football. Alex has probably tried to take a touch across him and maybe he was impeded and thought he could go down and make the referee make a decision. Luckily enough, it went our way.”
Boyce was on the receiving end of Celtic captain Scott Brown’s awful tackle which resulted in a straight red card for the Hoops midfielder, but is confident he will be fit for next Friday’s Highland derby against Caley Thistle at Dingwall.
He added: “I knew someone was coming and I was waiting until the last second to try to get out of the way to buy a free kick and take the pressure off.
“Once I flicked it, though, I just felt like I’d been hit by a bus and I looked down and my sock was ripped and my leg is really swollen now.
“I’ve got a couple of weeks now to deal with it and get myself right for the next game.”
Celtic looked to be on course for all three points thanks to Patrick Roberts’ 78th-minute goal after Michael Gardyne had cancelled out Kieran Tierney’s first-half opener for the Hoops.
Boyce reckons the Staggies deserved a point and the 26-year-old added: “We defended well in the first half but there are some goals we can’t stop and it was a good shot from the edge of the box.
“We were happy with the way we were defending and we played well enough in the second half to deserve a point from the game.
“The manager said at half-time our shape was good. We just needed a bit more belief on the ball and he asked us to show we can play.
“We got something going and we were pressing better. We managed to get our reward.”