9 refereeing shockers in Scottish football this season

Celtic were denied two clear penalties in Saturday's win at Motherwell. Picture: SNS

Celtic were denied two clear penalties in Saturday's win at Motherwell. Picture: SNS

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REFEREES have tough, thankless task, but there’s no doubt they can be prone to a few gaffs from time to time.

Inspired by the phantom penalty awarded to Hibernian last night, here are the nine most egregious decisions we’ve seen so far in the 2015/16 SPFL calendar.

Falkirk v Hibernian (20.10.15)

Whistler: Alan Muir

There was contact between John McGinn and Blair Alston inside the penalty area, but the Falkirk midfielder could do nothing to get out of the way of his Hibs counterpart running straight at him. Alan Stubbs wondered whether it was a ‘make-up call’ for the referee’s failure to give a spot-kick for a foul on David Gray in the build-up.

Motherwell v Celtic (17.10.15)

Peter Houston confronts referee Alan Muir after last night's game. Picture: Michael Gillen

Peter Houston confronts referee Alan Muir after last night's game. Picture: Michael Gillen

Whistle: Alan Muir

It’s not been a great week for Muir who missed not one, but two stonewall penalties as Celtic pushed for a second goal against Motherwell. First Scott Brown was taken out by Kieran Kennedy, then the same offender handled a header sent back across goal in the direction of Nadir Ciftci.

St Johnstone v Partick Thistle (17.10.15)

Whistler: John Beaton

Abdul Osman’s late handball, which blocked a Joe Shaughnessy drive, was incorrectly given as a free-kick outside the area, despite a clear indication that the offence had taken place inside the box after the offending limb came back down to earth following contact with the football. The score was 2-1 to Thistle at the time and that’s the way it stayed.

Rangers v Falkirk (03.10.15)

Whistler: John McKendrick

“A sh***bag.” That was what Peter Houston is alleged to have called referee John McKendrick in the aftermath of Falkirk’s loss at Ibrox. The Bairns’ manager was furious when Tom Taiwo was adjudged to have fouled Nicky Law 25 yards from goal with the match poised at 1-1. James Tavernier scored from the resultant free-kick and Rangers kept their 100 per cent winning league record.

Dundee v Ross County (26.09.15)

Whistler: Craig Thomson

Ross County were 3-1 up and cruising when Craig Thomson adjudged Andrew Davies to have pulled back James McPake in the penalty area. While there was contact, it looked a soft decision as McPake cleverly threw himself to the turf. Davies suffered the double-jeopardy punishment of also receiving a second booking for his troubles. Dundee came back to draw 3-3.

Aberdeen v Celtic (12.09.15)

Whistler: Craig Thomson

Undoubtedly the most contentious match of the season so far as four big incidents got both set of fans talking. Aberdeen would eventually have Jonny Hayes sent off, but Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths felt the hosts should have been reduced to ten men much earlier in the match when he was fouled by Andrew Considine. Official Craig Thomson didn’t believe the foul took place in an obvious goalscoring opportunity; almost everyone else disagreed.

St Johnstone v Hamilton (12.09.15)

Whistler: Andrew Dallas

Saints went on to win this match comfortably, but things could have been very different had Andrew Dallas spotted a stonewall penalty when Brian Easton fouled Callum Morris just as the striker was about to pull the trigger. 0-0 at the time, it was as close as Hamilton got as Steven MacLean netted a hat-trick for the hosts in a 4-1 victory.

Hamilton v Hearts (29.08.15)

Whistler: Willie Collum

The match official drew the ire of Robbie Neilson and several thousand Hearts fans after sending off Callum Paterson for a clumsy challenge on Darian MacKinnon. Replays showed the defender won the ball and the punishment was later reduced to a yellow card. Hearts - on a five game winning streak going in - failed to win another league game until this past weekend.

Celtic v Ross County (01.08.15)

Whistler: Willie Collum

Start as you mean to continue. Willie Collum, given his propensity for dismissals, was oddly reticent to reach for the red card when Jackson Irvine nudged the ball past Craig Gordon and was fouled by the Celtic keeper. Yes there were two Celtic defenders covering, but Irvine would have retrieved the ball in time, and the retreating pair would have been severely handicapped by the inability to use their hands.

But none of these were as bad as Craig Joubert.

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