Neil Lennon branded the decision not to award his Hibs side a derby goal a “disgrace” as both he and Hearts boss Craig Levein agreed Oli Shaw’s effort had crossed the line.
Shaw’s early effort at Tynecastle came down off the bar and bounced over the line but was ruled not to be a goal by far side assistant referee Sean Carr. Afterwards, Lennon said: “It was a disgrace. Daylight over the line. How he did not see that is beyond me.”
“It’s a goal, everyone could see it. You could tell by way it came out of the goal.”
The incident was the obvious talking point in a 0-0 draw covered live by Sky Sports, meaning Carr’s error was immediately apparent.
Lennon quickly had it confirmed Hibs had been robbed of a goal but said he could tell from the touchline the ball had gone in, describing the error as “making a mockery of the game” in Scotland.
Levein admitted Hearts had benefited from a significant break. “I think maybe it was a centimetre over the line,” he said.
The Tynecastle manager added goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin also knew it was a goal. “He said to me he thought it was in,” explained Levein. “We’ve had a lot of things go against us in recent times, so we’ll take that one.”
Lennon was not so sanguine so soon after Hibs were denied a penalty in the recent 2-1 defeat to Rangers when David Bates handed a cross from Efe Ambrose in the box.
He said: “It’s another big, big decision that went against us again – there was a handball against Rangers and again tonight. That’s costing us important points.
“We were by far the better team on difficult pitch. So that’s great for my players. But I should be sitting here talking about a great win.
“He [Carr] has to get it right. It’s a goal. A goal is a goal.
“I know we’re all about a video ref. Sky are here, the fourth official only needs to check and see it’s a goal. He said he couldn’t get a good view of it and the linesman didn’t see it.
“The linesman saw every offside in the first half yet he didn’t get the important one.
“These could cost us at the end of the season. All the odds were against us, we were hearing all about what would happen to us here. It’s a hard one to take.”
Lennon confirmed there had been no apology from referee Steven McLean, but there was little the official could do after his assistant signalled play on.
“No, he didn’t acknowledge that he got it wrong,” said Lennon. “Because he didn’t know whether he’d got it wrong at the time. This is a huge game. It’s live on TV. And it’s making a mockery of the game.”
Levein was the happier manager after Hearts extended their unbeaten run to eight games. They have now kept five successive clean sheets. “We were better in the second half, still defended well but passed the ball better,” he said.
“We can do better than that. We’re unbeaten for eight in a row. Another 62 and we get Celtic’s record!”