TERRY Butcher looked like a man in need of the services of a public bar after being put through the wringer again in a controversy-strewn draw with Aberdeen.
Scorers: Inverness - Foran (67 pen); Aberdeen - Smith (84)
Bookings: Inverness - Meekings, Foran, Doran, Tudur-Jones (sent off); Aberdeen - Anderson (sent off)
Instead, the Caley Thistle manager, risking the wrath of the authorities perhaps, suggested he might be behind bars of a prison variety were he still a footballer in the current era.
The claim was based on the
simmering frustration he feels at officialdom and it’s inconsistencies. This raggle-taggle match was settled – or rather not settled – on two or three major calls from referee George Salmond.
The first was the sending-off of Owain Tudur Jones – his second red card of the season – for what looked like a dangerous lunge at Ryan Fraser. The second came with Russell Anderson’s red card for hauling down Shane Sutherland when clean through in the box, leading to Richie Foran’s opener from the spot.
Aberdeen retaliated through 17-year-old Cammy Smith but only after, again to Butcher’s fury, Aaron Doran was possibly denied a scoring chance in the box unfairly by Mark Reynolds.
Butcher, right, launched a ferocious attack on refereeing standards. “It was never a red card in a million years. Consistency? We never get consistency,” he said. “They are the most inconsistent group of people I have ever seen in my life. It’s a disgrace. They are in charge of our futures. They are in charge of my job, these officials. And they are letting us down. Will we appeal? My gut feeling is yes, definitely.
“I want to see these referees accountable. They say they are but we never get to see that. If referees make mistakes, please, will they phone us up and say so. I praise officials when they have a great game but I can’t say anything if they don’t.
“It is just so frustrating and annoying. If I played now, I’d probably be in prison. It is bad enough on the sidelines. I’d be up for murder.”
What the game lacked in finesse, it made up for in ragged second half entertainment – with Foran’s penalty wiped out by a point-salvaging first senior goal for Smith.
Jonny Hayes made his keenly-anticipated return to the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, having packed up for Pittodrie on a free in the summer.
Caley Thistle, out to stem a leakage of eight goals in games against Celtic and Motherwell, brought in on-loan Celt Andre Blackman for his Inverness debut at left back.
Aberdeen, resolute defensively, had struggled to hit the net this season and a fierce blustery wind off the Moray Firth didn’t help either side in a poor first half.
Craig Brown reacted with fury early on as home defender Graeme Shinnie left young Fraser writhing in agony with a rap to his ankle.
The twin wing threat of Hayes and young Fraser, swapping flanks repeatedly, held the best hope of a breakthrough. It was a all huff and puff as half-time approached and you felt it could only get better in the second half. Thankfully, it did.
From the restart, Aberdeen won a corner and Hayes’ delivery was stabbed goalward by Considine but hit a blue wall of legs on the line before Ryan Esson smothered.