Steven MacLean wants his St Johnstone players to tap into a “sense of injustice” in their bid to light a fire under their Premiership campaign.
The Perth boss was furious that Livingston were awarded a game-changing second half penalty at the weekend when Liam Gordon and Joel Nouble chased a long ball and that VAR failed to overturn what he believed to be a glaring error.
To rub salt into the wounds, Gordon was subsequently sent off when VAR did intervene regarding a tackle referee, Graham Grainger, didn’t even deem to be worth of a free-kick.
Nothing can be done to right the penalty wrong but Saints will appeal the red card.
And MacLean wants to see some effectively channelled fury when next they play at Pittodrie on Sunday.
“We will be appealing Gordy’s red card because we feel there’s a real case there,” he said.
“He doesn’t make contact with him. He’s put his leg straight to get it out of the way after winning the ball.
“We think it was a good tackle. The referee was in a good position to see it in real time and didn’t think it was a foul.
“So we’ll put in the appeal and see what the panel make of it. Hopefully common sense will prevail.”
MacLean added: “The penalty was a really hard one to take and I’ve seen Joel Nouble say he didn’t expect it to be a penalty either.
“It seems only one person thought it was.
“Watching it back, it still doesn’t make sense to me and even more so when you have VAR there to help the referee.
“We keep hearing about clear and obvious errors, but it’s either a penalty or it’s not – there’s nothing else to it.
“And I think pretty much everyone is now in agreement that it wasn’t a penalty.
“If that’s a foul then you’d be as well saying football is 100% percent non-contact now.
“It was really disappointing, especially when you look at ones like Sima on Jamie Brandon in the Rangers game against Livi last midweek.
𝗥𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗿𝘀 1-0 𝗟𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗻 𝗟𝗜𝗩𝗘! 🔵🦁
🎥 Abdallah Sima put the hosts in front with this strike ⚽️
But was he fortunate VAR snubbed what appeared to be a push on Jamie Brandon?#ViaplayCup 🟣🏆
— Football Scotland ⚽️🏴 (@Football_Scot) September 27, 2023
“I don’t see how that one can be deemed fine, but Gordy’s one – where the contact is miniscule by comparison – is a foul.
“It doesn’t make any sense to me and this is the kind of thing VAR was supposed to sort out.
“I think everyone hoped that when VAR was brought in you’d get a level of consistency with decisions but we’re not getting that yet.
“We feel a sense of injustice from decisions going against us but we need to use it as fuel now and take that first-half performance into the Aberdeen game.”
MacLean got a good performance out of his team for the best part of 60 minutes on Saturday – but the last half-hour saw a frustrating drop-off.
“I felt we were good in the first half and could have scored two or three,” he said.
“But then the penalty came along and we have to make sure we don’t get spooked by incidents like that in future.
“You have to keep playing the way you’ve been playing, do the right things.
“But that first half gave us plenty of encouragement and I think you can see things are coming together.”