BOTH managers left Rugby Park convinced that their sides had been denied victory by dint of referee Willie Collum’s decision not to award either of them a penalty kick.
In the case of St Johnstone, however, they at least had the good grace to admit that it would have been a travesty if they had taken all three points.
Kilmarnock’s Kris Boyd may have been out of luck with two shots which hit the woodwork but Saints’ central defender Steven Anderson believes that the striker had already enjoyed enough good fortune when he escaped being penalised after pulling him back at a set play. “I was just about to head the ball when I felt my jersey being tugged,” he said. “It was a definite penalty and Boydie admitted it afterwards.
“The referee told me he didn’t give it because we were both at it but I was in front of him so I don’t know what that was all about. Perhaps his assistant could have helped him out.
“W e were lucky to get away with a point, though. They had the best chances and we were feeling a bit leggy after the Minsk game on Thursday.”
His manager, Tommy Wright, agreed that a spot-kick should have been awarded for Boyd’s offence but not that they should consider themselves charmed. “Steven can say what he likes but I don’t call that lucky, I call it good goalkeeping and good defending,” he said. “I tried to freshen things up a bit after our exertions the other night but they still took their toll and we showed a lot of character. We’re a hard team to beat, which is how we managed to qualify for Europe in the first place.”
His counterpart, Allan Johnston, was equally vehement that his side had suffered an injustice by Collum’s refusal to point to the spot after a netbound shot by William Gros struck the arm of former Killie defender Frazer Wright.
Johnston was convinced that it was not a case of ball playing man.
“William shot with real power but their player had his arm outstretched in an unnatural position and you’re not allowed to do that,” he said.
“I thought that we deserved the three points because we had the better chances. Kris Boyd and Paul Heffernan are both natural goalscorers but they showed that there is the chance of a good partnership there.
“There were positives for us. We looked solid defensively and didn’t let them have too many chances. It was a big improvement from Aberdeen last weekend.”
Gros was baffled by Collum’s decision not to give Killie the chance to end the stalemate from 12 yards. “It was a clear penalty,” said the Frenchman. “His arm was out and my shot was on target. I shouted: ‘Penalty!’ immediately but he didn’t want to know. The ball broke for Kris and he hit the bar but the referee definitely wasn’t playing the advantage rule – he just wasn’t giving the penalty.”