‘Arrogant’ refs are costing people jobs, says Caldwell
SCOTLAND’S under-fire referees were back in the spotlight yesterday as Partick Thistle manager Gary Caldwell claimed bungling officials are putting livelihoods at stake following his side’s 1-1 draw with Falkirk.
Caldwell was incensed as Andrew Dallas sent off Thistle midfielder Gary Harkins for two bookable offences at Firhill, feeling that the second of those – a foul on Ross MacLean – did not merit a card.
The Thistle boss went on to label match officials arrogant, although he declined to elaborate on the postmatch discussion he had with Dallas as they left the field of play.
“Every week there are bad decisions in every game we play in,” Caldwell said. “It’s important for people’s lives that they get these decisions right.
“I’m not saying they can be perfect. I think the way they go about it after, the arrogance they show I think isn’t great. I think it needs to improve. We need to make it better because this is people’s livelihoods at stake in these games.
“I don’t understand how every foul we make is a yellow card, yet they get away with one, two, three fouls. I think he got sucked in today.
“I had a quiet word with the referee after the game, but I can’t say what he said. It’s private.”
The controversy at Firhill is the latest in a string of high- profile incidents involving match officials in Scotland.
Dallas was at the centre of another storm as he awarded a highly controversial penalty to St Johnstone against Hearts, and Tynecastle manager Craig Levein received a one-match ban for comments about referee Bobby Madden after a defeat to Rangers.
Meanwhile, Caldwell said he was unaware of coins being thrown in his direction from the Falkirk end during yesterday’s match. A Firhill steward reported coins being thrown at the 36- year- old from the Colin Weir Stand behind the dugouts.
PARTICK THISTLE 1 FALKIRK 1
ONE day soon, it might be nice to write a match report that doesn’t centre around the referee. But it is not this day.
That Partick Thistle had managed to turn what would have been a precious three points in the bottom-of-the-table scrap against Falkirk into just the one by squandering a second-half lead was sore enough for them. But the fact that it came moments after they had lost Gary Harkins to a debatable red card made it sting all the more.
It was match official Andrew Dallas who was the centre of attention in the post-match discussion, although as many supporters up and down the country might wryly observe, that may rather be the way he likes it.
The Thistle manager Gary Caldwell certainly didn’t miss him as he gave his verdict on the afternoon’s events, clearly angered by his decision to show a second yellow to Harkins for a run-of-themill foul on Ross MacLean after picking up a deserved caution for a late challenge on Abdul Osman in the first half.
“We got a brilliant goal and then should have went on and won the game but for another crazy decision,” said Caldwell.
“Every week there is bad decisions in every game we play in. I felt he got sucked in. They came to frustrate and tackle and their bench erupts every time, and I’ve seen this before when the aggressors get away with things and every little foul is a yellow card for us.
“I don’t understand how every foul we make is a yellow card, yet they get away with one, two, three fouls. I think he got sucked in today.”
It was hard to disagree with Caldwell’s take on the incident, but even so, there was little excuse for the way his side immediately shipped an equaliser.
Blair Spittal had given them the lead just beyond the hour, after a first half that was only notable for some coins apparently being thrown in the direction of Thistle manager Caldwell from the away end.
Sean McGinty burst forward from defence and laid the ball wide to James Penrice, whose low centre was killed and then finished by the excellent Spittal.
Falkirk boss Ray McKinnon responded by shifting to a back four and replacing one pantomime villain in Osman for another in Paul Paton. Their cause was aided as Harkins was sent packing with a quarter-of-an-hour to go, and two minutes later they had their leveller.
A MacLean cross from the left was attacked by Ciaran McKenna, with Conor Hazard managing to save, but Zak Rudden was on hand – as he so often is – to pick up the scraps and nod in the equaliser, condemning Thistle to another week at the foot of the table at least.
Rudden only got the call to join back up with his team-mates as he was getting changed for training at his parent club Rangers yesterday morning, but he was delighted to rush across the city to aid the cause.
“It was all pretty rushed,” he said. “I’m really happy I got the call though – I need these games for my development. I’m enjoying every minute.
“Rangers took me back in, I trained all week with them from Tuesday – although I never got a trip to Tenerife out of it or managed to speak to the manager.
“It was disappointing not to get the win, but it was good to get back and score a goal. I always felt it would come, that there would be a chance and I had to take it.
“We showed glimpses of how good we could be out there – with so many new players it’ll just take a bit of time.”
Gary Harkins protests to referee Andrew Dallas after his red card