Murray Davidson fumes over Hibs’ Florian Kamberi’s ‘dive’

Wrestling with the need for honesty from players over the tumbling they are prepared to do to win penalties proved as agonising for Murray Davidson as the consequences of what the St Johnstone midfielder considered was such an act of simulation by Florian Kamberi on Wednesday night.

Hibs Florian Kamberi won a penalty for this challenge by Liam Craig. The striker angered Saints' Murray Davidson by his reaction. Picture: SNS.

Davidson, below, was damning of the Swiss striker’s reaction to Liam Craig getting up close to him, a coming together that resulted in a spot-kick award by referee Gavin Duncan. It proved the catalyst for a fightback by a ten-man Leith side who snatched a late winner for a 2-1 victory.

The kiss of death to the quest of Tommy Wright to extend their winless run to eight games, Davidson had to contend with the air variety from Kamberi to ramp up his rancour over the award.

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“I think it’s pretty obvious,” he said on being asked if the Hibs man dived. “I have watched it back and I knew at the time but I have to be careful what I say as I might get into trouble. I knew by his reaction. When I said to him he just kept blowing kisses to me afterwards. If he had been kicked he would have said that. Never once did he say that.

“It’s on the pitch, we’ve all shouted at each other and had stick. That’s not the issue. My issue at the time was that he’s done whatever he’s done to win a penalty for his team and

he will have sat on the team bus down the road not caring as he’s helped his team get three points.

“That’s the way it is. I’m not getting away from the fact that we should do better at one-each but it’s a big decision at a big time in the game. And I just can’t see how the referee’s given it.

“If I was to give you my clear thoughts I would get in trouble. Anyone that sees it, we’ll see if it’s a penalty, or not. From what I see, he throws himself in, throws himself to the ground. Some people will probably say it’s good striker play but if you are going to give penalties for that, each game will be seven each because there will be ten penalties per game.”

Yet Davidson stopped short of taking a moral stand on players throwing themselves over at the merest hint of feather-like contact. “It’s hard. In the moment you can do that sort of thing instinctively, and certain players do that,” he said. “Sometimes it looks like a dive and stuff when people go down but it can take minimal contact to go down.

“It’s hard for referees. I’ve known players that have dived. People have dived in my team. Everyone in the game has gone down easy at some point or another. I’m frustrated because it was such a big moment in the game. As I say it’s not an excuse because at one-each when they get a man sent off, we should do better ourselves. But I’m frustrated as it changes the whole momentum of the game. At that time they hadn’t created a clear-cut chance. “

Wright’s side feel assailed from all sides at the minute. The failure to win in their last eight games represents their longest run without a victory since February 2016.

It is not a cause for alarm with the form across the first half of the campaign exceeding all expectations. However, the ability to let slip a game such as Wednesday’s, when they had such control following Chris Kane’s 15th minuter strike, has reduced their chances of overhauling Hibs – now thre points haead of them – to claim a top-six berth. Teams, as well as players, can fall easily.