Derek McInnes: ‘4-1 harsh’ says Kilmarnock manager as he reveals fourth official chat

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes at Ibrox: 'Game hinged on sending off'  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes at Ibrox: 'Game hinged on sending off'  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes at Ibrox: 'Game hinged on sending off' (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
‘Game hinged on sending off’ according to McInnes

Derek McInnes has questioned the amount of added on time played at the end of the first half during Kilmarnock’s 4-1 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox.

The Rugby Park manager could not question his team’s commitment – reduced to ten men just 20 minutes in after defender Joe Wright was sent off for handball on the line, the visitors made Rangers work for their victory.

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Kilmarnock had gone ahead just 12 minutes in after James Tavernier inadvertently turned Liam Donnelly’s cross past his own goalkeeper Jack Butland.

But Wright’s red card for handball on the line eight minutes later completely changed the complexion of the afternoon and helped Rangers keep within three points of Celtic at the top. Although Tavernier saw his subsequent penalty saved by Will Dennis, Rangers equalised through Fabio Silva with the last kick of the first half, which was extended by as many as eight minutes after multiple VAR checks. The hosts then scored three second-half goals against the tiring visitors.

When 11 v 11, McInnes felt his players were coping comfortably with what Rangers were throwing at them. “I thought 4-1 was harsh, obviously a couple of early VAR checks and stuff but it was more dealing with the directness of Rangers,” he said. “We spoke often enough how (Fabio) Silva, (Cyriel) Dessers and (Todd) Cantwell like to play on the shoulder and that 30-40 yard longer pass from Rangers can get teams on the back foot and we had to be ready for it.

“I didn’t think we defended the space behind our back line and in front of the goalkeeper as well as we could have, but any time Rangers played in front of us we were absolutely fine. I didn’t think they were moving the ball quick enough to cause us problems.

“The game changes on the sending off and to go back to my point we did not defend the space behind the back lot well enough,” he continued. “We got ourselves in a bit of a fankle to be honest. And then it’s the whole thing about doubt jeopardy – there is no doubt it has hit Joe’s arm but I think it is accidental although he stopped a goal-scoring opportunity. Penalty yes, but sending off? If that is the rule then it is the rule but I am not sure it should be the rule.

“I thought it was extremely harsh given the circumstances. I don’t think he has deliberately swung his hand out to stop a goal. And the penalty would have sufficed. Obviously Will makes the save and there’s eight minutes of added time, and I know there were two or three VAR checks, but eight minutes seemed quite a lot.

“I spoke the fourth official and he said thirty seconds to go and that was in the lead up, so it was the very last seconds of the half when we have one situation that we need to defend better.”



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