Graham Alexander: Referee made right call in Motherwell v Hibs but rules need looked at

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander admitted that referee David Munro was right to give Hibs a matchwinning penalty in their 3-2 defeat – but queried the handball rule.

Motherwell boss Graham Alexander.
Motherwell boss Graham Alexander.

Hibs were awarded a 70th-minute spot-kick when Kevin Nisbet’s shot hit Stephen O’Donnell’s hand, although the Motherwell skipper was a matter of yards away from him.

Martin Boyle converted the penalty as Jack Ross’ men took the spoils in a pulsating match at Fir Park on the Premiership’s opening weekend.

Alexander said: “I've not seen it from close up, only from wide-angle footage, but all I can see is Stephen O'Donnell is two yards away from the shot. I defy anyone to do something different.

"His arm is not above his head or anything like that. I don't know what we are supposed to do with that. I am trying to work out what a natural position is when you are running out to the ball – is it supposed to be in your pocket?

"It's not the referee's fault because the rule is there. When players put their arms behind their back that seems to be OK but that's not a natural position when you are running. I don't know where the definition is. For me in the spirit of the game it's not a penalty but is it going to be given? 100 per cent.”

Alexander, however, took heart from his team’s display. “Unfortunately the result has gone away from us,” he added. “But that's a performance we need to replicate because in other games we will win.”

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