Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie brands Scott Brown and Mikael Lustig ‘classless’
In claiming their seventh successive piece of silverware under Brendan Rodgers, Celtic once again proved they are peerless on the pitch.
But the behaviour of Scott Brown and Mikael Lustig at the end of Sunday’s 1-0 Betfred Cup final win over Aberdeen led Dons skipper Graeme Shinnie to brand the Parkhead pair ‘classless’.
As the Pittodrie side saw their last attack fizzle out, Sweden international Lustig made a beeline towards 19-year-old Lewis Ferguson and celebrated in front of the young midfielder.
Graeme Shinnie looks dejected following his side’s defeat in the Betfred Cup final
Brown also got involved, then moved over to ensure he was next to Aberdeen counterpart Shinnie to rub his nose in defeat when the final whistle sounded.
Shinnie did not rise to the bait although the two rival skippers – who have had previous run-ins – did not shake hands on the way off.
The 27-year-old Dons star said he was annoyed by how Celtic captain Brown and Lustig – who had captained the team until Brown’s arrival as a substitute – targeted the teenager instead of focusing on their latest cup success.
‘It frustrated me when some of their players are celebrating in front of a young 19-year-old kid who is just trying to do well. You can have a wee bit more class than that,’ said Shinnie.
‘Was Scott Brown noising me up, too? Yes, definitely.
‘There’s ways to go about being a captain. You can have a bit of class about you – they don’t and it frustrated me.
‘But I’m big enough and man enough to take it. It’s happened more than once.. I’m used to it now.
Shinnie to branded Parkhead pair Scott Brown (left) and Mikael Lustig (right) ‘classless’
‘Did Scott Brown and I shake hands? No, there was none of that.
‘He (Brown) will do what he does. It doesn’t bother me. But when it’s people like young Ferguson they are going for… they are older professionals and they should know better.
‘Did I have to speak with Lewis afterwards? No, he’s a mature young man. He’s dealt with stuff like that in the past and he will deal with it again when he’s involved in big games. He can handle himself very well and he will be fine.
‘Celtic have won the cup so congratulations to them,’ he added.
Shinnie put in a strong performance in midfield but failed to track the run of Ryan Christie as the Celtic attacker scored the winning goal.
The deciding moment arrived after a six-minute hold up as Aberdeen’s Gary Mackay-Steven was stretchered off having been knocked out in an accidental collision with Dedryck Boyata.
Mercifully, Mackay-Steven was sitting up in hospital last night. He will miss the game with Rangers at Ibrox on Wednesday night due to concussions rules but Aberdeen expect him back to face St Johnstone at home on Saturday.
Shinnie did not believe the Mackay-Steven injury affected his team’s focus but admitted the sight of his team-mate motionless on the turf put losing the cup final in context.
Shinnie and Lewis Ferguson remonstrate with referee Celtic’s Brown looks on
‘You have to deal with it but what happened to Gaz puts it in perspective a bit,’ he said.
‘There’s more to (life) than football and we wish Gaz all the best.
‘It was a bad injury, one of the worst I’ve ever seen since I started playing football.
‘He was out cold. He was knocked out but I don’t want to go into much more about what I saw out of respect for Gaz. It wasn’t nice but the medics did really well to give him the help he needed.
‘After that we wanted to get back into the game for Gaz and hopefully go to see him in hospital with a winners’ medal. But it wasn’t to be…’
Shinnie was also left frustrated by the performance of referee Andrew Dallas, who inexplicably awarded Celtic a spot kick when Dom Ball unintentionally handled outside the box. Joe Lewis ensured justice was done by saving Scott Sinclair’s penalty.
‘The referee said to me: “Watch it back again after the game and you’ll see it was a penalty,”‘ shrugged Shinnie.
‘I’ve watched it back and it’s not a penalty. I said to him it was accidental handball and it was outside the box.
‘But once he’s given the decision he’s not going to change it. Joe made a great save but overall we lacked that bit of luck.
‘We put pressure on Celtic. They knew they were in a game. We just lacked that bit of cutting edge to get back into the game.
‘It was fine margins but Celtic have won it and congratulations to them.’
Aberdeen keeper Lewis, who had a fine game, cut a devastated figure in defeat.
But he vowed that the team will have no trouble picking themselves up for a return to Glasgow to face Rangers on Wednesday.
He said: ‘I think we can take a bit of pride in our performance, in the way we stood up to Celtic. But ultimately it doesn’t matter – in cup finals it’s the result that matters.
‘The end result today was not what we wanted but the spirit and belief from the team was certainly there.
‘We’ve a huge game on Wednesday night against Rangers. That’s the task now, to get our heads switched on towards that.
‘Obviously we’ve all had a massive disappointment in the final but we have no other option than focus on the next game.
‘Right now the lads won’t be thinking about playing at Ibrox, but if an Aberdeen player can’t get up for Rangers away then they shouldn’t be at this club.’