McLaughlin felled McMullan in the 59th minute after the Dundee winger had sped past the keeper, with Madden pointing to the spot. However, the official deemed that McLaughlin had made a genuine attempt to play the ball and therefore opted for a yellow rather than a red card.
From the subsequent penalty, McLaughlin saved Jason Cummings’ effort as Rangers went on to win 1-0 at Dens Park thanks to a Joe Aribo goal and remain top of the cinch Premiership, with Dundee sitting bottom and winless after seven games.
McPake remonstrated with Madden after the match and was sent off for his discussion and the Dees boss made no secret of his displeasure at the referee’s call.
When asked whether Madden made the right decision, McPake responded: "In my opinion, no. I know the rule is if you make a genuine attempt and people will disagree and say it's a genuine attempt. Paul McMullan is clearly by him and the leg comes out. If it's Adam Legzdins would my answer be different, probably not.
"I am just giving an honest opinion having seen it back. I think the arm catches him as well. TV footage will maybe show that better. I am looking at it from a high camera.
"We miss the penalty but we still have half-an-hour to play with 11 v 10. I like the rule that if you make a genuine attempt it's not a red card offence but Paul McMullan is clearly by him by the time he makes an attempt.
"I got an explanation out of Bobby. I have a fantastic relationship with Bobby. In the end, he became unapproachable and said 'I am not speaking to you about it, I can't talk about an incident' and then you get the 'you missed the penalty anyway' shout. We know that, I watched it."
While frustrated by the decision and the result, McPake was full of praise for his team’s performance as they went toe-to-toe with Rangers.
"Both sides made it a really entertaining game,” he continued. “I feel like a broken record but we should have come out of the game with something. I am extremely proud of my players, the way they handled a very good side but gutted for them that they have come away with nothing.
"It's the champions, the best team in the country and they will go away knowing they were in a hard game. We go away with nothing again, which is extremely frustrating, but I can't ask for any more effort. Quality maybe in certain areas of the pitch. We had other chances as well, so we can't put it down to the penalty."
McPake also refused to blame Cummings for the miss, praising the striker after he clambered out of his sick bed to play. "Jason Cummings was excellent when he came on,” he added. “I was worried about putting him on so early because that boy's had Covid twice and he wasn't well through the week.”