St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson has admitted that the defining moment of his team’s 1-0 defeat to Hibs was “hard to take”.
The Perth boss didn’t let frustration stray into fury when he reflected on referee John Beaton’s decision to award a second half penalty against his side.
But his initial conviction that it was the wrong call to penalise Jamie McCart when Martin Boyle’s shot was blasted at him from point-blank range stood firm after he watched the incident again on video.
“I’ve seen it back,” said Davidson. “And I think my first reaction was correct.
“I didn’t think Jamie’s hands were in a position where he was making himself bigger.
“I think the ball basically came off his chest area. The guy was a yard away from him.
“So realistically, I’m not quite sure.
“It’s disappointing because both teams were having a real go to win the game.
“To end up losing the game to that decision is quite hard to take, quite frustrating.
First chance to see penalty incident back. These things happen but twice they've gone against us against Hibs with John Beaton in charge in the past two seasons. pic.twitter.com/02xncySxo6
— St Johnstone 1884 (@stjohnstone1884) September 26, 2021
He added: “I think it’s really hard for the referees sometimes. For me, they’ve just got to be sure it’s a penalty.
“It would be different if Jamie’s hands were up high or trying to block the ball.
“As a defender, and I’m sure Jack (Ross) will say the same, I’d be disappointed to lose a penalty like that.
“I think it’s just very unfortunate how it’s affected the game.
“In the first 15 minutes I thought they were the better team then we came into it and had the better of the rest of the first half.
“It swung forward and back until the penalty decision.
“The energy levels and effort of the players when we went down to 10 men was still good.”
McCart’s red card
On McCart being sent off for letting his indignation get the better of him when he picked up a second yellow for sarcastically applauding one of the assistant referees, Davidson said: “It was frustration.
“It’s very hard to take as a player.
“The referees have difficult decisions to make – would VAR have helped? Maybe. But you can’t be sure what decision VAR would have made.
“We had a goal that was disallowed for offside against Hibs at the start of last season that was onside and had a last minute penalty given against us.
“There are similar themes at the start of this season but we’ll remain positive.
“Jamie will be missed for the next game but there were a lot of positive signs – Ali Crawford was superb and Chris Kane was excellent – and we’re getting boys back from injury.”
Delighted to join @stevenando85 on 441 appearances for this club. I was fortunate enough to play along side him for a lot of those games and to do it over such a successful period for the club makes it even more special ⚽️💙 https://t.co/RgoFrBD3TB
— Liam Craig (@lc10media) September 26, 2021
Liam Craig reached a significant milestone at Easter Road.
It was his 441st appearance, equalling Steven Anderson’s record.