Why the referee didn't send off Ryan Edwards for foul on Ryan Jack

Ryan Jack feels the effects of a challenge from Ryan Edwards. Picture: SNSRyan Jack feels the effects of a challenge from Ryan Edwards. Picture: SNS
Ryan Jack feels the effects of a challenge from Ryan Edwards. Picture: SNS
In the latest edition of Ref Review we look at two decisions from Friday night's game between Partick Thistle and Rangers which went against the visitors. There will be a follow-up to come where we look at three which went in their favour.
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I’ve watched the Ryan Edwards incident over and over again, and I just don’t get the controversy. You’re looking for two main things with these challenges - is there excessive force and does it endanger the opponent? Neither of them is close to applying here.

Jack lunges in and Edwards pulls out of the tackle a bit, so there’s no real force involved. Chris Sutton’s insistence that it was a “stamp” is wide of the mark. He may stand down on Jack’s foot (not his ankle - Picture One), but he’s not thrusting his foot down in a violent manner.

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Picture OnePicture One
Picture One

I get the argument about going over the top of the ball, but that’s more applicable when the player is standing up and going over the ball takes you right into their shin and runs the risk of causing serious injury. When a other player is on the deck, there’s not as much risk of injuring him, especially when it’s on the boot rather than the shin or leg.

My interpretation is that most of the contact is with the ball, and although he does then go on to catch Jack’s foot, it’s with a loose boot rather than any sort of forceful straight leg.

It’s a free-kick and nothing else for me. If you want to argue a yellow card for recklessness because he goes over the ball then you’d have a stronger case, but there’s no excessive force.

Some have pointed to Jack’s challenge as being a little naughty also, as he does leave the ground with both feet. But while he lunges a little bit, he’s still fairly in control and there’s not much contact with Edwards from his end.

Picture TwoPicture Two
Picture Two

The other big decision in the match that went against Rangers was Adam Barton’s handball, which blocked a Josh Windass shot on target. It was weird that much more wasn’t made of it. It’s probably not a penalty, but it deserved more of a discussion with the BT Sport panel, who all just seemed to write it off and moved on.

He does leave his hands out from his body when he doesn’t necessarily have to (Picture Two), it even looks like they come up a little as the ball gets to him. Obviously it is not a deliberate handball in the sense that he’s not tried to block the ball with his hands, but he has deliberately thrown such a weird body shape, which does assist him in deflecting the shot.

However, there isn’t much distance between himself and the ball, and it’s just his hands that are out, not his arms. Had both his arms been raised in the air as he deliberately tried to make himself a bigger target, then it would have been a penalty. As it is, Willie Collum was right to wave away the appeals.

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