Rangers hit by triple blow in Fashion Sakala shirt-pull incident says top referee analyst

Rangers should have had a penalty kick and faced a depleted Dundee United side for Ross Graham’s shirt-pull on Fashion Sakala, according to Dermot Gallagher.

The Zambian striker was denied a clean strike during a goalmouth stramash by the Tangerines’ defender during the 1-1 draw at Tannadice – and Sky Sports analyst Gallagher believes the home side got off lightly when Bobby Madden refused to take action.

The former English Premier League official believes Rangers could have gone level when Sakala seized the rebound from an excellent save by Benjamin Siegrist – but the defender’s grip and close attention meant he couldn’t convert from close range.

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Reviewing the footage Gallagher said: “I think this here is a penalty and if the ref gives a penalty it’s also a red card, because if you look, he grabs so much of his shirt.

Rangers' Fashion Sakala has his shirt pulled in the box by Dundee United's Ross Graham during a Cinch Premiership match between Dundee United and Rangers at Tannadice. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

“He’s just about there to kick it into the net and gets pulled back so I think, if a penalty was given which it should have been, it would also have been a red card for DOGSO (denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity).”

United defender Graham was involved in another penalty claim from Rangers players when a Charlie Mulgrew clearance struck his arm, but the expert was less convinced by the first-half incident and gave Madden the benefit of the doubt.

He told Refwatch on Sky Sports News: “I think the referee has felt it’s come off his own player and struck his arm but he didn’t consider it had struck his arm ‘out’ so he didn’t give a penalty there.”

Asked if it was a penalty he added: “I’m not sure to be honest.”

Dundee United's Ross Graham scores to make it 1-0 during a Cinch Premiership match between Dundee United and Rangers at Tannadice Park, on February 20, 2022, in Dundee, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The incidents added more weight to the arguments of VAR-backers including pundit Kris Boyd, however Giovanni van Bronckhorst was not interested in entering the debate post-match.

“VAR will make it easier and these decisions can be turning points. They can change the games. But there is no VAR, so end of discussion.

"There is no VAR so every decision that the referee will make cannot be overturned. We have to respect the decision that he makes,” he said.

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