Dons press need for ref­er­ee­ing by video

Devlin red card fury rages on

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANNY LAW

Aberdeen have urged the Scot­tish FA and the SPFL to con­sider in­tro­duc­ing video as­sis­tant ref­er­ees.

The Dons re­leased a state­ment yes­ter­day af­ter their frus­tra­tions with the Scot­tish FA’s han­dling of de­fender Michael Devlin’s ap­peal.

Devlin was sent off by ref­eree Craig Thom­son four min­utes into the Dons’ 2-0 de­feat by Kil­marnock for deny­ing Ea­monn Bro­phy a goalscor­ing op­por­tu­nity.

The Dons de­scribed the ex­pla­na­tion for re­ject­ing their ap­peal, pub­lished on the Scot­tish FA web­site, as un­ac­cept­able.

The state­ment fol­lows crit­i­cism by Kil­marnock boss Steve Clarke over his club’s fail­ure to get Gary Dicker’s send­ing-off against Hearts re­scinded and the furore sparked when Rangers pair Al­fredo More­los and Allan McGregor, as well as Hearts’ Steven Nai­smith, all es­caped pun­ish­ment for off-the-ball in­ci­dents.

The Dons state­ment said: “In light of re­cent de­ci­sions taken by the SFA, the club be­lieves it is im­per­a­tive for the coun­try’s foot­ball au­thor­i­ties to es­tab­lish con­sis­tency and trans­parency in the ap­peal and re­fer­ral process and will en­gage in di­a­logue with the SPFL in this re­gard to seek its as­sis­tance.

“Fur­ther­more, at a time when tech­nol­ogy is mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant and pos­i­tive im­pact across sport, the club be­lieves that the im­pact of the VAR sys­tem tri­als in the English Premier League needs to be con­sid­ered if stake­hold­ers in the game are go­ing to re­gain trust in the process.”

Dons man­ager Derek McInnes said: “We saw at the World Cup how the VAR process aided the ref­eree and gave the ref­er­ees more con­fi­dence to make the big calls.”

The SFA re­leased a state­ment last night which said: “The clubs, play­ers and man­agers are rep­re­sented in the on­go­ing re­view of the ju­di­cial panel pro­to­col and we will wel­come any in­put this sea­son through our usual pro­cesses.”

McInnes, mean­while, has de­fended his de­ci­sion not to bring Tony Watt to the Dons. The 24-year-old, who has net­ted six goals in nine ap­pear­ances for to­day’s op­po­nents St John­stone, trained with Aberdeen af­ter leav­ing Bel­gian side OH Leu­ven in Fe­bru­ary.

McInnes said: “He was al­ways some­one who brought some­thing to our train­ing. I was al­lowed to bring one striker in and James Wil­son was that striker. I had a call to make and we also have to look at the emer­gence of young Bruce An­der­son. We wanted to make sure we didn’t im­pact on that.” St John­stone have been forced to close the North Stand at McDiarmid Park for to­day’s meet­ing with Aberdeen due to a burst pipe.

Dons fans who have pur­chased tick­ets for the North Stand will be ac­com­mo­dated in the South Stand.

A club spok­se­man said: “The row and seat numbers are the same in both stands and so ex­ist­ing row and seat numbers as shown on tick­ets for the North Stand should be used in the South Stand.

“There are a small num­ber of payat-the-gate tick­ets avail­able in that South Stand.”

TO THE POINT: Oran Kear­ney salutes the St Mir­ren fans at full time af­ter start­ing his reign as the Bud­dies man­ager with a 0-0 Pre­mier­ship draw against Celtic at Pais­ley last night. MATCH RE­PORT ON PAGE 58

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