KILMARNOCK manager Kenny Shiels suggested fourth official Andrew Dallas may not be ready for the Clydesdale Bank Premier League after Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by St Johnstone.
Kilmarnock 1 - 2 St Johnstone
Scorers: Kilmarnock: Nelson (85); St Johnstone: M Davidson (33), Vine (89)
Referee: S O’Reilly
Shiels was furious at the dismissal of skipper Manuel Pascali, just four minutes into this bad-tempered clash at Rugby Park, for a two-footed challenge on Nigel Hasselbaink.
The Kilmarnock manager was also sent to the stands after angry protests to both referee Stevie O’Reilly and Dallas, the son of the former top official, Hugh.
Michael Nelson’s header seven minutes from time cancelled out Murray Davidson’s opener but, with two minutes remaining, the visitors finally capitalised on their man advantage as Rowan Vine prodded home the winner to send Saints fourth in the SPL table.
“It was clear that Manuel got the ball and it went out for our throw-in but instead he’s sent him off,” said Shiels.
“I think the referee listened to the young lad, the fourth official, and then made the decision. We have had him [Dallas] here before and he’s easy influenced – maybe the SPL isn’t for him at this point in time as he needs more experience.” It’s clear Shiels will not change his outspoken approach and he denies his team suffers as a result. He added: “My nature will not change and whether this is the right industry for me I don’t know.
“I speak candidly and expose people by telling the truth. Diplomacy is not my strong point but you can trust me and my players. However, when it verges on people suggesting it is getting my team into trouble, I will strongly deny that.”
Matchwinner Vine felt Saints had blown their chance of a vital three points after conceding seven minutes from time. Kilmarnock looked the more likely to score in the closing stages of the match but Liam Craig laid the ball on for Vine to prod home the last-gasp winner.
“When they scored the equaliser it looked like, with the crowd behind them, that there was only going to be one winner,” Vine said. “We kept going to the end, though, and the one-man advantage probably told in the end as their right-back wasn’t there to cover for my goal.”
Vine felt Pascali was unfortunate to see red and said he was baffled by application of the rules. The 30-year-old got a booking for diving inside the box in the first half and was adamant he should have won a penalty for his side.
“I didn’t think it was a sending-off and that he got the ball – the referee seemed to take an age to make the decision,” Vine added. “I don’t really know the rules any more. I got booked for diving when it wasn’t a dive. Even the Kilmarnock players thought it was a penalty.
“It was difficult for me playing the rest of the game with a yellow card, especially when my disciplinary record is nothing to shout about.”