Dundee United boss Robbie Neilson was delighted to make the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup with victory at Premiership St Mirren on Saturday.
But he blamed referee Willie Collum for an exciting tie disintegrating into a physical battle.
The Tangerines were cruising at 2-0 and threatening to score more goals until midfielder Calum Butcher was given a straight red card for a tackle on Ryan Flynn just after the hour mark.
Moments earlier, though, home defender Paul McGinn escaped a similar fate when he elbowed former team-mate Cammy Smith.
And Robbie felt Collum’s failure to act then was at the root of the problems that followed.
“The referee’s decision not to send McGinn off made it a fight and a battle because everyone just starts kicking each other after that,” he said.
“Then he tried to calm things down by sending one of my players off.
“I don’t really want to speak about referees because we are trying to calm things down but it went from a really good performance from us to a physical game that was just kicking each other and then he decides to send somebody off and it’s just a lottery after that.
“I thought it (McGinn’s tackle) was a disgrace. He saw it, the fourth official saw it. Watch it on the TV.”
The final half hour saw United concede once but hold out for what the manager felt was a deserved victory.
“There are two ways to win a game. The first half, or 50 minutes, we passed it really well and then we went down to then men and had to defend,” he said.
“To be honest they never created a lot. Their goal was a deflection and most of their stuff was crosses and shots from distance. You take that down to 10 men.”
United will find out who they are to face in the quarter-finals next month when the draw is made after tonight’s Highland derby between Ross County and Inverness in Dingwall.
With ties due to be played on the weekend of March 2, it means United’s important Championship clash with leaders County, will have to be rearranged.
Tomorrow sees the reserves make the short trip to Dens Park to face Dundee.