• READ MORE: Steve Clarke: The referee won the game for Hearts
Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke was steadfast in his belief that Willie Collum won the game for table-topping Hearts on Saturday after the referee decided to show Gary Dicker a red card.
The teams were level at 0-0 when the midfielder was ordered off for a challenge on Hearts winger Callumn Morrison in the 68th minute. The Gorgie side would claim all three points thanks to a header from Uche Ikpeazu late on.
“Gary won the ball, clearly”, said Clarke. “We’ll win the appeal so that’ll help us next week, but not today. It wasn’t (Uche) Ikpeazu that won the game for Hearts. It was the referee, unfortunately.”
Former fully qualified referee, Craig Anderson, can understand why Collum did show the red card due to the way the incident transpired.
He said: “The tackle came out of the sort of situation where you often see red card tackles - the ball is moving around quite quickly and is getting away from a player, so he lunges after it in desperation.
“From the ref’s angle, which was right behind it, perhaps obscured by Olly Lee, it probably looked a lot worse than it was - Dicker’s leg was outstretched and he did go over the top of the ball a bit.”
Yet. Anderson feels that the challenge only warranted a yellow card at most, with Morrison’s reaction the tackle perhaps influencing Collum’s decision.
He said: “From other angles you can see that the angle of the tackle was away from Morrison’s leg and that he seems to make contact with the top of his boot rather than his studs (see image 1). It was a clumsy challenge, but it was at fairly low speed and the level of contact on the Hearts player was never really going to endanger his safety.
“Morrison’s reaction certainly didn’t help his opponent, but that is fairly standard and really a referee should know better than to be fooled by it.
“As much as you can make an argument for a red, I think a yellow was more than sufficient, particularly in the context of the game, which was hard fought but never dirty.”
Clarke was critical of speed at which Collum made the decision.
He said: “The most disappointing thing is that such an experienced official couldn’t wait to get the card out of his pocket, rather than taking his time and assessing the situation.”
Anderson is in agreement and offered a potential solution.
He said: “Collum had his card out very quickly rather than giving it a second of thought - seeking some advice from his far side assistant may have been wise in this case, since he may have had a different perspective from a different angle.”
• Craig Anderson is a former fully qualified referee. He is also the man behind SPL Stats on Twitter.