Chris Maguire explains why he celebrated in front of Lee Johnson after scoring hat-trick on Sunderland return

Chris Maguire said he meant no disrespect to Sunderland supporters after celebrating the opening goal of his hat-trick in front of Lee Johnson’s dug-out.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 10:59 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 12:13 pm

The attacking midfielder told Sky Sports that his reaction was based on the frustrating end to his career at the club, and also an early incident in which he was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Carl Winchester.

Winchester would go on to be sent off himself in the second half as Lincoln City secured a 3-1 win that put a significant dent in Sunderland’s promotion momentum.

"It was a build up of things,” Maguire said.

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Chris Maguire celebrates

"I thought I was hard done by in my time here - it didn’t end the way I wanted to. I got a yellow card early on, and I looked over he was trying to get me sent off.

“It worked in the favour of us - because at the end of the day he’s been sent up the tunnel.

“I can’t tell you what I said but I think I did my talking on the pitch. It was just a bit of tongue in cheek for my last 6 months here. It ended badly for me.

“I hope the Sunderland fans are okay with me. I was getting booed but I’ve got nothing but admiration and respect for them. I loved my time here. I wasn’t meaning to be disrespectful to them at all. I hope they can see from my point of view the way it ended for me here.”

In his post-match press conference, Johnson said of the celebration: "It’s not for me to comment.

“You'd have to ask him. When you're manager you pick a team, you don't hold grudges and players sometimes move on, it's part of the game.

“For me, you pick players, Embleton, Pritchard, based on your belief in them.

“Good luck to Chris, to be honest, my focus is on the team.

“There’s 11 players out there and two clubs. We’re fighting at the top of the league, they’re trying to get themselves out of trouble and it was always going to be a tense, tight game.

“You’re trying to do the best you can for Sunderland and find those solutions during the game.”

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Sunderland AFC coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor