‘Ar­ro­gant’ refs are cost­ing peo­ple jobs, says Cald­well

The Herald on Sunday - - SPORT - BY GRAEME McGARRY

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

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