Kilmarnock boss Tommy Wright demands referee Don Robertson be "man enough" to admit penalty error in St Mirren Scottish Cup loss
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright rounded on referee Don Robertson and questioned his competence following his side’s shoot-out defeat to St MIrren in a dramatic Scottish Cup quarter-final that pivoted on a spot-kick award in the penultimate minute of extra-time.
With Kilmarnock then holding a 3-2 advantage, Robertson adjudged keeper Colin Doyle had fouled Jake Doyle-Hayes in the box, despite television evidence appearing to show the Kilmarnock man had touched the ball before he hit the ground. Wright was coruscating about Robertson’s part in a loss that resulted in the Paisley club converting all five of their shoot-out penalties, as Rory MacKenzie missed his to swing the decider 5-4 in favour of the visitors.
“Let's be honest, Don Robertson put it into penalties with a poor decision,” said the Rugby Park manager. "When he is man enough he will own up to it. I will go and see him and over the years I have been in to see Don more than any other ref. He changed the whole game. We could have dealt with the situation better, [Ross] Millen could possibly just put his foot through it [before Doyle became involved], but it is not a penalty all day long.
"The goalkeeper clearly gets the ball, the fact that it spills out is irrelevant. No penalty. But Don wanted to have the final say and he got it. It is extremely disappointing because there is no doubt we were the better team. Their keeper had more saves to make, we were the dominant team and we go out because of a poor decision and that can happen in cup football.”
KILMARNOCK 3 ST MIRREN 3 (aet): Andrew Smith’s Scottish Cup verdict
St Mirren, who earned only a second semi-final appearance since their cup win of 1987 and a first since 2009, will now face Rangers-slayers St Johnstone at Hampden on the weekend of May 8/9, and the Paisley club’s manager Jim Goodwin accepts they cannot afford the slip ups that led to them losing their way at Rugby Park after being gifted an early lead courtesy of a horrendous lapse from keeper Doyle.
“I felt it very hard to celebrate at the end the way I probably would in a normal situation,” Goodwin said. “We made extremely hard work of it and we picked a terrible night so poor defensively. The goals we conceded are just not like us, it’s as simple as that.
“It’s something we’re going to have to rectify before the next league game and then before the trip to Hampden to play St Johnstone. All in all relief, I’m delighted for the group, the staff, the players, directors and obviously supporters. I’m sure one or two of them will have been watching it from behind the sofa at times. I think it shows the character and the resilience and togetherness we’ve got in the group.
“But I’ve also got to give enormous credit to Kilmarnock. Tommy made the change, bringing [Nicke] Kabamba on and is a real handful but then loses him minutes later. I sympathise with Tommy but thankfully it was our night. Two semi finals in one season, it’s a great achievement for everybody.”
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