ST MIRREN manager Danny Lennon criticised referee Craig Thomson for overturning a penalty decision in his side’s narrow defeat by Motherwell, and claimed that the incident was indicative of the bad luck that is coming the way of the Buddies at the moment.
Former St Mirren striker John Sutton headed the only goal of the game in the 38th minute, and despite the home side having plenty of possession, it was the visitors who carved out the clearer opportunities after the break, with Shaun Hutchinson heading against the crossbar and David Cornell saving well in a one-on-one with Henri Anier.
However, it was Thomson’s decision to award St Mirren a penalty before changing his mind with the game still goalless that drew Lennon’s ire.
Conor Newton burst through the Motherwell defence before being tripped a yard outside of the penalty area by Keith Lasley, but Thomson immediately pointed to the spot.
This provoked furious protests by the Fir Park men and, after consultation with assistant Alan Mulvanny, the
referee overturned his original decision.
Lennon said: “I felt that both the referee and the assistant looked very confident in the decision that they had originally made and, once a group of Motherwell players showed their frustration to the assistant, the decision changed. I’ve never come across that so that’s frustrating and it seems to be the luck we’re not getting just now.”
With tricky fixtures ahead, including two visits to Edinburgh to take on Hibernian and Hearts, Lennon moved to reassure the fans, who greeted this latest defeat with boos, that he believes he is close to turning things around.
He said: “We had a new formation that we worked hard on all week and we dominated a lot of possession and got a lot of deliveries into their box. We still have to work on our end product, though, and the one and only ball we don’t deal with, we find ends up in the back of our net.
“I am buoyant. Once again there will be a lot of focus on Danny Lennon’s managerial record and ability, but let me tell you, the only focus I have is to prepare this group of players mentally, physically and tactically for a very difficult game against Hibs next Saturday.”
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall said: “We’ve won three on the bounce, which is nice, but in each game we’ve had opportunities to kill teams off and haven’t taken them.
“I thought in the second half we had opportunities to go two up and we would have been able to relax a little bit. But it’s another clean sheet and that’s a great platform to go on and win the game.
“St Mirren have got a good group of players, they’ve got good experienced players and they’ve got good young players, and you’re only ever one game away from turning it around,” McCall. added: “I’m sure Danny, Tommy [Craig] and the players will stick at it and they’re a good group.”