Gary Mackay: Official’s calls leave a sour taste

Willie Collum sends off Morgaro Gomis. Pic: Ian Georgeson

Willie Collum sends off Morgaro Gomis. Pic: Ian Georgeson

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I don’t think any Hearts supporter left Tynecastle yesterday without a sour taste in their mouth over some of the refereeing decisions taken during the match.

It’s always important you make a decent start if you’re to have a chance against a team like Celtic, and for a spell it looked like we were getting a wee foothold. But then Morgaro Gomis allowed himself to get caught up in things after he was clipped by Scott Brown. Whether we agree with the decision or not, Morgaro gave Willie Collum the chance to send him off with the way he slid in with his foot off the ground.

However, having sent Morgaro off for that challenge, I was baffled that Collum didn’t then feel the need to at least book Brown for one of his fouls.

Any sense of frustration about that paled compared to the feelings I had about the penalty decision. I know the ref and his linesman only get one look at it, but it’s probably the worst penalty decision I’ve ever seen.

On this occasion, we’re just going to have to take our medicine and try and bounce back from this defeat. We have had a lot of breaks and good fortune during our unbeaten league campaign but in the two cup games against Celtic our luck seems to have run out.

As frustrating as it is to be on the receiving end of such decisions from the officials, we have to keep things in perspective. I wrote last week that I saw yesterday’s game as a bonus card with no pressure on Hearts. In the grand scheme, this Saturday’s game against Queen of the South was always going to be a more important.

We had a test of character when we lost at Celtic Park in the League Cup and we showed our resilience to bounce back from that, so I don’t see any reason why we can’t get back on track against Queens.

On another note, one thing that was particularly notable for me from yesterday’s game was the extra physicality Celtic had in comparison to Hearts. I just wonder if that will play a part in the recruitment process in January at the club as we look towards both the title run-in and a possible return to the Premiership next season.