Celtic loan star responds to diving claims and says Airdrie were denied clear penalties in Clyde draw



Airdrie striker Jon Afolabi insists he is no diver after picking up a mock booking and being denied two penalties in their 1-1 draw with Clyde on Saturday.

Celtic on loan were furious with referee Calum Scott when he showed a yellow card early in the game when Clyde keeper Josh Bradley-Hurst appeared to knock him down in the box.

And the 22-year-old’s misery was compounded in the second half when he was denied another kick request for what he believed was an obstruction in the box.

These are some of the many penalty claims the Diamonds went unawarded on Saturday, with Callum Fordyce seemingly annihilated by Clyde keeper Bradley-Hurst as he tried to clear and Adam Frizzell falling twice in the box without awarding.

The costly mistake saw Airdrie miss the chance to close the five-point gap on League One leaders Cove in the title hunt after drawing 2-2 at Alloa, and Afolabi said: ” It’s very frustrating because the guys are putting a lot of hard work into the game and it was a good opportunity to close the gap on Cove above us.

Jon Afolabi has joined Airdrie from Celtic on loan until the end of this season

“Decisions are very disappointing. My job is just to get to the ball first. The goalkeeper was fully engaged [on the first claim] and there was a contact, he took me down.

“There was definitely contact and that’s what brought me down.

“Booking only made it worse. I asked the referee after the game about it and he said it was a clear simulation, it was a dive.

“But I had an open goal, so you just wouldn’t want to fall into that situation.

“I try to shoot or get my body in good positions. Defenders are obviously not there to stand still, they are there to make contact. It’s a physical sport, but sometimes there are obstacles.

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“The one in the second half I thought was an obstruction. I was about to shoot, there was no way the defender could get the ball back and he didn’t get it.

“We just have to make sure we work even harder now because the critical moment is approaching in this league.”

Arriving from Celtic earlier this month on loan until the end of the season, the young Irishman has impressed in his three appearances so far.

He opened his Diamonds account with the winner in a 1-0 win at Peterhead last week and believes there is more to come as Airdrie head towards the trading end of the campaign.

Afolabi was on loan at Ayr United earlier this season
Afolabi was on loan at Ayr United earlier this season

A tricky trip to Alloa now awaits on Saturday and Afolabi added: “It was good to have my first goal at Peterhead and it would have made my weekend that much better to score another against Clyde, but we will build towards the next game.

“I deny that I do very well with these guys behind me. The way we play, I should be able to create chances and score goals.

“Alloa will be tough after his result with Cove, but we will continue to do everything we can to keep the pressure on Cove.

” This chance [of the title] drives us all forward.”

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