Spartans edge pyramid play-off first leg despite red card as Brechin accused of pressuring referee
The two clubs meet again at Glebe Park next Saturday for the opportunity to go up against SPFL club 42 – which looks like being Albion Rovers – who sit three points adrift at the foot of League Two.
A Spartans win looked unlikely at half-time after captain and centre back Kevin Waugh was shown a straight red card from referee Graham Grainger, who adjudged his challenge on Anthony MacDonald, 40 yards from goal, to have denied a goalscoring opportunity.
Spartans boss Dougie Samuel felt the referee had bowed to player pressure from the visitors.
“When your team is disrupted in the way our team was disrupted at the end of the first half, when you lose your captain to a sending-off – I can see why he sent him off – but on another day maybe if he’s not surrounded by eight players then he doesn’t get sent off. We lost our left-back two minutes after that, so I was pleased to get into half-time at nil nil, just calm things down and say a few words to the players.
“Against a side that has averaged three goals a game, we would have taken a draw at half-time. It was a funny game, because I think in both boxes, both teams will think that they never got a bounce of the ball, they never got a break of the ball and maybe we got a bit of luck at the end when the ball landed in Blair’s lap but I think the players had earned that, they deserved that.”
Brechin boss Andy Kirk will be seeking a reaction from his players in the return leg, he said: “We are still well in the tie, being at home next week anything can happen, so we’ve got to be positive that we still have an opportunity.
“We’re disappointed at how we played, especially in the first half, it’s not like us at all, it was unacceptable. We didn’t get the ball down and play well anywhere near the capabilities we have; a number of the players weren’t at their best.”
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