Kilmarnock’s Steve Clarke: Refs unwilling to admit when they are wrong

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke believes that referees are no longer willing to accept that they have made glaring errors during matches, even when television evidence suggests that they have.
Steve Clarke says he was baffled by the dismissal of Kris Boyd. Picture: SNS.Steve Clarke says he was baffled by the dismissal of Kris Boyd. Picture: SNS.
Steve Clarke says he was baffled by the dismissal of Kris Boyd. Picture: SNS.

As a result, he claims that the current appeals process – in which referees are asked to review their decisions on tape or, in the case of an incident being missed, a panel of former officials must reach a unanimous verdict – is a waste of time.

However, the 53-year-old – who was handed a two-game suspended touchline ban after criticising the decision not to overturn a straight red card shown by Willie Collum during Killie’s 1-0 home defeat by Hearts in August – insists he will continue to highlight injustice when he sees it, even though failed appeals cost clubs £1,000.

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Clarke was baffled this week by the SFA’s refusal to erase the red card shown to Kris Boyd for a challenge on Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie during the 0-0 draw at Pittodrie on Saturday.

“I sat here in August and went through what I thought were some flaws in the system up here and I was hauled over the coals for it,” he said.

“I’m not trying to create anything between Kilmarnock and Aberdeen but there was a tackle early in the game which was as bad as Kris’s, if not worse, but their player gets a yellow card. Kris gets a red and I can’t for the life of me work that out.

“The inconsistency shown by the referee… he should look at both challenges and say: ‘Well, I gave a yellow for the first one so it should be a yellow for that one’.

“It seems to be they don’t want to rescind their decisions, whether it makes them look worse than they already are. I haven’t got the explanation [for this one] yet. I was told on Wednesday the appeal had been rejected.

“To be honest, we didn’t expect to win it. They’ve shown their hand over the course of the season – with other clubs and ourselves – that they don’t like to admit they were wrong.”

Even so, Clarke stressed that he will continue to defend his stars.

“You owe it to your player and you owe it to the rest of the clubs to ask the question,” he said. “If you think the decision is wrong and don’t ask the question because of a financial penalty then that would also be wrong.”

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Clarke didn’t attend the recent summit between managers and referees at 
McDiarmid Park.

“The real boss [Mrs Clarke] was up in Scotland,” he said. “I got the invitation late on the Tuesday to go to a meeting on Thursday but I had already made plans.

“However, I’m also quite sure of the fact that the people who are paid to run the game in Scotland should be capable of running it instead of going around and canvassing managers, who are not paid by the SFA.They should do their own jobs. It’s up to them to put their house in order and get things right. They can ask the opinion of managers but the SFA and people in charge of the game have to take 

“I don’t know if your input means anything or not; you don’t know how they are going to proceed. I know they asked Lenny [former Hibs manager Neil Lennon] to join a panel but I’m not sure he will want to do that anymore.

“But, like I say, it’s their job, they have to put the game right. That’s what they are paid for.”