'Hard to take' - Callum Davidson laments controversial penalty decision that cost St Johnstone against Hibs

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson lamented the controversial decision by referee John Beaton to award Hibs a 60th-minute penalty that allowed them to claim a 1-0 win at Easter Road.

Jamie McCart was booked in the aftermath of conceding a penalty by referee John Beaton.
Jamie McCart was booked in the aftermath of conceding a penalty by referee John Beaton.

Beaton pointed to the spot after Saints defender Jamie McCart was deemed to have blocked a goalbound Martin Boyle shot with his arm. McCart was only a couple of yards away from Boyle when he fizzed the effort towards goal, with some debate whether the ball had hit his arm or his torso, and Davidson could not hide his dissatisfaction at the decision.

McCart was booked in the aftermath of the award and picked up a second yellow card 15 minutes from time as St Johnstone went down to Hibs for the first time in five matches.

"I’ve seen it back – and I think my first reaction was correct,” said McCart.

“I didn’t think Jamie’s hands were in a position where he was making himself bigger.

“I think the ball basically came off his chest area. The guy was a yard away from him. So realistically, I’m not quite sure.

“It’s disappointing because both teams were having a real go to win the game.

“To end up losing the game to that decision is quite hard to take, quite frustrating.

"I think it’s really hard for the referees sometimes. For me, they’ve just got to be sure it’s a penalty.

“It would be different if Jamie’s hands were up high or trying to block the ball.

‘”As a defender, and I’m sure Jack will say the same, I’d be disappointed to lose a penalty like that.

“I think it’s just very unfortunate how it’s affected the game.

“The referees have hard decisions to make – would VAR have helped? Maybe. But you can’t be sure what decision VAR would have made.”

Davidson felt his team were comfortable before the penalty award.

“In the first 15 minutes I thought they were the better team then we came into it and had the better of the rest of the first half,” added Davidson.

“It swung forward and back until the penalty decision.

“The energy levels and effort of the players when we went down to ten men were still good.”