Hearts reaction: Steven Naismith and Derek Adams both seethe at VAR and officials as 'black box' demand made

Both managers were left baffled by decisions in the 2-2 draw at Tynecastle

Hearts manager Steven Naismith has had another go at “rubbish” VAR after his side were denied two penalty claims during the 2-2 draw against Ross County, but his counterpart Derek Adams was more critical of match referee Alan Muir and fourth official Chris Fordyce, accusing them of making a “huge error”.

The scoreline was still blank when Ben Purrington and Nathaniel Atkinson became entangled in the box in the 30th minute, but the Hearts boss was infuriated to see the foul go against his side, and there was the same sense of injustice after the interval when substitute Alan Forrest was booked for diving despite visiting goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw appearing to catch his trailing leg.

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“The first one, Kyogo Furuhashi got a penalty here by getting his body in front of the defender,” said Naismith, “but today Natty Atkinson gets his body in front of the defender, and no penalty is given. VAR should see it. At the second one there is contact on Alan Forrest. Now, I get the referee not seeing it with the speed of play. But VAR has got to see it. I have come in and looked at it and there is contact. If you pause it, there is contact. But it’s not given.

Alan Forrest was booked for simulation during Hearts' 2-2 draw against Ross County.Alan Forrest was booked for simulation during Hearts' 2-2 draw against Ross County.
Alan Forrest was booked for simulation during Hearts' 2-2 draw against Ross County.

“It’s not good enough. Twice already before today we have had apologies for the wrong decision being made by VAR. Rubbish. The positive for us is that we get back in the game and take something from the game. But I think it’s two penalties. The failsafe is VAR. The first one, opinion, is it or not. The second one, there is contact, which means it’s a penalty. We might get an apology, Al might get his yellow card rescinded but it’s just really frustrating.”

The Gorgie gaffer was not the only party feeling aggrieved as his opposite number Derek Adams launched his own angry outburst. Aggrieved that he was not able to complete a double substitution with 12 minutes remaining, he was still remonstrating with the fourth official when Hearts swept upfield and Lawrence Shankland banged home the equaliser, which only increased his fury and his frustration as his men were forced to settle for a share of the points.

They had established a 2-0 lead courtesy of an Alex Cochrane own goal and a delightful Yan Dhanda free-kick and Adams claimed his men had “murdered” their host in the first half but despite conceding that the blocked substitution did not contribute to Lawrence Shankland’s goal he will still demand answers.

“The fourth official made a mistake at 2-1,” said Adams. “We were putting on two substitutes and unfortunately the referee restarted the game when one of our substitutes was on and our other one wasn’t allowed to come on because the referee had started the game. That was hugely disappointing because the goal came straight after that. I’m going to speak to them and ask them to explain what happened. I know what he said to me at the time but we all know there’s a little black box that’s recorded and I would like to hear back what was said in that little black box. They will use it against a manager, but unfortunately you will then have to use it against yourself at some point.”