St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson calls for change to handball rule and admits player confusion

St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson believes there is a need for the handball rule to be altered after seeing his side concede a penalty in the 3-2 loss to Hearts on Wednesday night.

Lawrence Shankland netted from 12 yards to put the Tynecastle Park side in front at McDiarmid Park after Willie Collum was called across to check the VAR monitor following an incident involving Saints defender Ryan McGowan. The Australian was adjudged to have stopped Jorge Grant's flick with his hand deemed to be in an unnatural position.

It was one of three penalties awarded on the night, two of which were for handball with Cammy Devlin also penalised towards the end of the first half.

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“I think we were all a bit bemused by it," Davidson said. “This handball rule has got to change a little bit. The Hearts player just chips it up and I’m not sure what Ryan is meant to do. And he gets booked for it as he [the referee] says it’s a shot towards goal. That’s ludicrous as it was a flick.

“For me the handball decision is a really difficult one, it’s really difficult for the referees. These big decisions are coming out and it’s hard. Referees are refereeing like they’re supposed to do it. But sometimes as a footballer you’re not sure how you’re meant to get your hand out of the way or what’s a natural position or making yourself bigger. If someone flicks the ball at your hand then the obvious thing for me is to move your hand away to try to avoid it and then if it hits your hand they’ll say it’s in an unnatural position.”

Saints will be hoping to bounce back when they welcome Dundee United to McDiarmid Park on January 2 but may have to do without Melker Hallberg and Graham Carey who had issues with their hamstring and knee respectively.

“Dundee United are a very good team,” Davidson said. “If we finish like how we played in the last 60 minutes here then we’ll have a chance to win the game. If we play like the way we started it we’re in for a tough afternoon. We just need to concentrate on ourselves and how we go about our business.”



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