. . . McInnes says Tavernier only has himself to blame
DEREK McINNES, the Aberdeen manager, last night suggested James Tavernier, the Rangers right-back, must shoulder a share of the blame for conceding the free-kick that led to his side’s winning goal at Pittodrie yesterday.
Mark Warburton, the Rangers manager, was furious that John Beaton, the match referee, ruled that Tavernier had fouled Jonny Hayes in a dangerous position just outside his own penalty area with a minute of regulation time remaining.
Television replays later showed the defender had won the ball with a clean challenge and Warburton also revealed that Don Robertson, the fourth official, had admitted to him that it had not been a foul.
However, McInnes, whose side won the Ladbrokes Premiership match with a sensational James Maddison strike, was of the view that Tavernier, who had been caught out of position at the home team’s first goal, was partly at fault.
“I think Tavernier gets himself in a bad position,” he said. “He then has to tackle and it’s a wee bit desperate from behind. I’ve not seen it again, but my first thought was that it was a free-kick.
“If they’re unhappy it’s maybe because they’ve seen it again and maybe he did touch the ball. But he was in a poor position to start with.
“When you go to ground – like Jonny [Hayes] did at their penalty when he brings [Lee] Wallace down – you’re playing with fire.
“We still had to produce the goal. And there were a lot of challenges I wasn’t too pleased with that we didn’t get. But I can understand, because it’s been compounded with a winning goal, that they’re more upset.”
Rangers, who had cancelled out Jonny Hayes’s opening goal with an Andy Halliday penalty in the second half, failed to win for the fifth time in seven Premiership outings this season.
Warburton, whose side are now seven points behind league leaders Celtic – who have a game in hand – admitted the incident which led to Aberdeen scoring the winning goal had been difficult for him to take.
“I will be careful what I say about the free-kick,” he said. “Everyone saw the ball move. The fourth official on the sidelines saw the ball move and made a comment. And yet a free-kick is given.
“You have got to be, I think, 100 per cent sure in these type of games, in those areas of the park. If that had been in the box, would it have been a penalty?
“I thought the referee handled a difficult game very well. He did a really good job up to that point, but to give that one there is frustrating beyond belief.
“But we moved to the next level today as a team and we are getting better. The boys are settling in and we were delighted with long periods.”
TOUGH CALL: The referee moves in to book Rangers’ James Tavernier for the contentious foul on Aberdeen’s Jonny Hayes which led to James Maddison’s goal.