Hibs v Inverness: Managers grumble over penalty decisions

Hibernian booked their place in the Scottish Cup semi-finals with an emphatic 5-2 victory over ten-man Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Martin Boyle goes down in the box. The Hibs winger was booked for diving. Picture: Paul Devlin / SNS Group
Martin Boyle goes down in the box. The Hibs winger was booked for diving. Picture: Paul Devlin / SNS Group

But it was a night when referee Nick Walsh was put under the spotlight when he controversially waved aside two penalties – booking Hibs forward Martin Boyle for simulation much to the bewilderment of his manager Jack Ross – and granted another that was disputed by Inverness boss John Robertson.

“I didn’t agree with it. In real time I thought it was a certain penalty. I was astonished,” said Ross of Boyle’s seventh-minute charge into the box, which faltered when he looked to have been clipped by Inverness keeper Mark Ridgers.

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“I’ve seen it. I don’t think it’s inconclusive,” added Ross. “I still think it’s a penalty. He won’t go down when he can score a goal. It’s a big call to make but, thankfully, it didn’t make a big difference.”

But his opposite number was just as annoyed with the penalty the Easter Road side were awarded when Kevin McHattie was punished for tugging Marc McNulty’s jersey, and the one that they were then denied later on as they were chasing the game.

The former, taken by defender Paul Hanlon, was saved by Ridgers, making it the third missed spot-kick in four games by the Leith outfit.

“Ultimately, did the team who deserved to go through go through? Yes,” said the Highland manager. “But there were big moments. Hibs might have had a penalty early on and the penalty they get is never a penalty. They both have a handful of each other.

“Then there was a massive, massive moment. It is a clear penalty kick for us. Carl Tremarco is brought down but the ref hasn’t seen it, [they counter-attack] and we’re two down. You need luck and that’s where it deserted us. It’s a penalty kick. A clear, clear penalty. And, if he gives it, it’s a red card.”

Ross was delighted to see five different players score, especially young Jamie Gullan, who netted his first for the club late on.

“He shows why I’m so positive about him,” said Ross. “His goal is brilliant, his movement and finish

is great. He’s enjoying himself.

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“Looking at the scoreline, I think we deserved to win. But it was far from comfortable, it was tough.”

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