Gar­dyne feels ref­eree sparked piv­otal point at Dens Park


NEI­THER side went home happy af­ter an en­ter­tain­ing af­ter­noon at Dens Park, with both left feel­ing ag­grieved that they had not taken three points and that they had been let down by ref­er­ee­ing de­ci­sions.

The real turn­ing point in the match came in the 53rd minute when the Ross County cap­tain An­drew Davies was shown a sec­ond yel­low card for a foul on James McPake in­side the area.

County had started the sec­ond half with a two-goal ad­van­tage af­ter a ruth­less open­ing 45 min­utes that high­lighted their cre­den­tials as gen­uine con­tenders for a Euro­pean spot.

Liam Boyce and Michael Gar­dyne net­ted ei­ther side of a McPake own goal, with Greg Stewart hav­ing can­celled out Boyce’s opener.

County seemed to be in con­trol but sud­denly their lead was halved as Rory Loy slot­ted home the penalty and they faced play­ing the best part of 40 min­utes with 10 men.

Jim McIntyre, the man­ager, felt the penalty was “ex­tremely soft” and was left won­der­ing why Dundee’s Kevin Thom­son re­mained on the pitch for Dundee de­spite com­mit­ting a se­ries of fouls af­ter he had al­ready been booked.

This sen­ti­ment was shared by Gar­dyne who scored three min­utes be­fore the break with a header over Scott Bain from a Jack­son Irvine cross.

“Kevin Thom­son was booked and then he gave away three or four fouls af­ter that,” Gar­dyne said. “I think his foul on Jack­son Irvine, the ref­eree ob­vi­ously played on but he should have brought it back and booked him again. Ob­vi­ously Paul Hart­ley [the Dundee man­ager] was tuned in and took him off as he knew it should have been a red.

“It’s just dis­ap­point­ing be­cause I felt we were cruis­ing at half-time. We were 3-1 up and when it was 11 against 11. I thought we were in their faces and do­ing re­ally well. But we showed our re­silient side in the sec­ond half, work­ing hard with 10 men, and we def­i­nitely showed what we are all about.”

When Dundee lev­elled in the 69th minute cour­tesy of a first-time shot by Loy, it seemed in­evitable they would go on to win the game but the visi­tors re­or­gan­ised well and re­stricted the hosts to only a few clear sights of goal.

There was, how­ever, a penalty shout for Dundee in the 75th minute that left Hart­ley frus­trated. Stewart drove into the box and went down un­der a chal­lenge from sub­sti­tute Stewart Mur­doch. Ref­eree Craig Thom­son was close to the in­ci­dent and waved away the for­ward’s protests.

Ric­cardo Calder, who made his full de­but for Dundee af­ter join­ing on loan from As­ton Villa, was also close by and was adamant his side should have had a sec­ond spot-kick. “It was def­i­nitely a penalty,” said the midfielder. “Greg had got past the de­fender and he would have had a shot on goal so there was no rea­son for him to go down.”

De­spite the sense of frus­tra­tion at not find­ing a win­ner against 10 men, Calder ac­cepted that com­ing back from two goals down to get a point was a pos­i­tive re­sult, es­pe­cially af­ter the ham­mer­ing at the hands of Celtic last week­end.

He added: “It was hard for us los­ing six goals last week and then com­ing in at half-time 3-1 down. To bring it back then nearly win the game at the end showed we have got a lot of char­ac­ter.”

RED RAG: Thom­son’s dis­missal of Davies was a con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion

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