Why Bobby Madden was correct to give Prince Buaben a red card

The latest edition of Ref Review looks at the red card awarded to Prince Buaben by Bobby Madden in Saturday's clash between Rangers and Hearts at Ibrox as well as the Edinburgh side's penalty shout which preceded the incident.

Prince Buaben is shown a red card by referee Bobby Madden. Pic: SNS/Rob Casey

Hearts left Ibrox on Saturday with their heads held high despite a 2-1 defeat to Rangers. They were reduced to ten men after 25 minutes when Prince Buaben was red carded by referee Bobby Madden. But for large parts of the encounter they were the better team.

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There were some grumbles regarding to decisions early on in the match which could have swung the game in favour of Ian Cathro’s side.

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First we will look at the penalty shout from Esmael Goncalves when he was felled by Clint Hill.

It was a challenge which falls under the category of ‘seen them given’. Goncalves had his body between the ball and the Rangers centre-back and appeared to be in complete control of the situation. Such is the awkward angle Hill is at, to win possession he’d have to go through the Hearts forward.

On initial viewing that seemed to be the case even if he did make contact with the ball, more so when Hill instantly protests his innocence by raising his arms. However, you can see in image one how well placed Madden is to see Hill’s foot go under Goncalves’ raised right boot and poke the ball away from the striker.

A good decision.

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Moments later the decisive decision which appeared to change the whole complexion of the game, even if Rangers were already leading by that point. A simple long ball was flicked on by Joe Garner to the on-rushing Josh Windass. The Englishman had caught a march on a sleeping Prince Buaben to get in front of the midfielder-cum-defender.

What transpired was a tussle between players but there was a small tug from Buaben, enough for a foul. With Windass heading into the box, although at an angle, and no Hearts player covering it warranted a red card.

Despite the quick nature of the incident, the ball travelling a long way, Madden was still very well placed to have a clear view of the situation as seen in image two.

Both decisions highlight the importance of a referee’s position when viewing an incident. In both cases Madden was correctly placed making it easier for him to make the correct decision on two tough calls.

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• Craig Anderson is a former fully qualified referee. He is also the man behind SPL Stats on Twitter.

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