KENNY Clark, the former Grade One referee says that the match officials who failed to award a goal in Sunday’s 0-0 draw between Hearts and Hibernian were following the correct guidelines.
Referee Euan Norris and his assistant Raymond Whyte did not see that Hibernian striker Leigh Griffiths’ second-half free-kick had crossed the goal-line.
But Clark yesterday maintained that Uefa and Scottish FA protocols show that Norris and Whyte were perfectly placed to judge the incident.
Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon called the blunder in the 0-0 draw “embarrassing” after Griffiths’ free-kick hit the underside of the bar and crossed the Hearts goal-line before coming back into play without a goal being awarded.
Clark told BBC Radio Scotland: “Euan Norris had taken up a position, as guided by Uefa and the SFA, about 35 yards out in line with the wall in order that he could manage the wall.
“And he had Raymond Whyte lined up on the edge of the penalty area to stand in line with the second last defender to judge for offside infringements.
“That meant that, when Griffiths hit the shot, Raymond Whyte had to make his way as quickly as possible towards the goal and was running at full pelt when the ball came crashing down off the bar.
“I appreciate the ball was well across the line but to judge that with the naked eye, when you’re running at full pelt and at an angle, is very difficult.
“I’m afraid it was impossible for the assistant to do that and I dare say he wasn’t prepared to take a gamble when he wasn’t sure.”
Speaking in the aftermath of Sunday’s derby, Fenlon said he was largely in favour of goal-line technology.
“When you look at the possibility of what it has maybe cost clubs, you’ve got to weigh that up and see where the balance is,” said the Hibs manager.
“I think referees should be left alone to ref the game to be honest.
“But this is probably one area where, because it’s a goal and it makes a big difference to a game and everything else within it, I think that’s something that has to come in. The rest of it, I would be looking to let referees ref the game.
“I did come out and say that I won’t hammer referees and I won’t do that. But the one thing I would ask is that they come out and explain why the decisions are given.
“I said to the referee at the end that they can cost people places and money so there is a lot at stake.
“This one is nearly hitting the back of the net, plus the ball is yellow and it’s easier to see. But I can’t do anything about it.”