Controversial refereeing decisions were once again at the forefront of debate after Wednesday’s Scottish Premiership action.
As Kilmarnock rose to the summit with victory over Livingston, many of the headlines were dominated by calls at Ibrox, Fir Park and McDiarmid Park.
Sportscene pundits Michael Stewart and Steven Thompson dissect four big decisions from Wednesday’s games to asses whether the referees in question got them right or wrong.
Sam Cosgrove red card
Aberdeen striker Sam Cosgrove was sent off after picking up a second yellow card inside the first 35 minutes of his side’s 1-0 win over Rangers.
Both pundits agreed that Cosgrove’s first yellow card was perfectly justified for a late challenge after 10 minutes.
However, the pair had sympathy for the striker with the second as they noted Cosgrove reached the ball before Rangers defender Connor Goldson.
“I think the referee maybe thinks Goldson is injured there because of the connection with Cosgrove,” said Thompson, “but it’s actually Goldson who kicks the underside of Cosgrove’s foot – thus injuring himself.
“And I think the reaction from the Rangers supporters in that corner swayed (referee) Steven McLean into making the decision.”
Stewart added: “Sam Cosgrove didn’t protest a lot, but he should have. There needs to be better communication between the officials.”
Pundits’ verdict: Not a red card
Alfredo Morelos red card
Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos was also shown a second yellow card in his side’s 1-0 defeat by Aberdeen.
Thompson thought Morelos’ first yellow card was a little harsh, after viewing replays of the Colombian striker’s challenge on Graeme Shinnie. “You could give it,” added Stewart. “But I agree that it is a little bit soft.”
Regardless, both pundits were unanimous when it came to Morelos’ second booking and the push on Shinnie in the 64th minute that led to him getting sent off. Thompson described it as “illogical” and questioned why it was necessary at all.
Both pundits agreed the second yellow card could easily have been a stand-alone red card. “And I don’t think you could have had a strong case against it,” added Stewart.
Pundits’ verdict: Red card
Liam Gordon penalty decision
Hearts were held to a 2-2 draw with St Johnstone, in no small part down to a penalty awarded to the Perth side in the 69th minute when Liam Gordon was deemed to have been pushed over in the box.
Neither Stewart nor Thompson could understand why such a call was made.
“That is one of the worst penalty decisions I have ever seen; it is embarrassing,” said Stewart, pointing out that the penalised player – Peter Haring – did nothing in the lead-up to Gordon falling over.
“You can understand Craig Levein’s position there,” added Thompson after the Hearts manager stated he was “fed up” with decisions going against his side. “That’s taken away a win from them tonight.”
Pundits’ verdict: Not a penalty
Disallowed Filip Benkovic goal
Celtic were held to 1-1 draw with Motherwell at Fir Park, but prior to Mark Gillespie making a superb save to thwart Leigh Griffiths’ penalty in the 40th minute, Celtic did have the ball in the back of the net for a second time.
From a corner, Filip Benkovic fired home a shot from the back post which then nestled in to the opposite corner of Gillespie’s net. However, referee Kevin Clancy disallowed the goal out because he thought the Celtic defender had been tugging on his marker’s shirt.
Thompson said: “Is there a slight tug on the shirt from Benkovic? Maybe. But [Tom] Aldred has actually got his jersey and the referee isn’t even looking at the incident.”
“If Benkovic has pulled Aldred there, he would spin in to Benkovic. So he clearly hasn’t pulled him with any great force,” said Stewart. “And let’s be honest, if you’re giving free-kicks for that, there would be penalties at every corner.”
Pundits’ verdict: Goal should have stood