Hibs goalkeeper Ben Williams today shrugged off a claim from Dundee United boss Jackie McNamara that he should have been sent off after a clash with Tannadice winger Gary Mackay-Steven.
Williams appeared to impede the United star after mis-kicking a clearance just 30 minutes in with the game, which eventually ended in a 2-2 draw as McNamara’s players mounted a storming comeback after Liam Craig had put Hibs two up, still goal-less.
But while the home crowd bayed for a red card, assistant referee Graham McNeillie raised the offside flag against Mackay-Steven, a decision which McNamara admitted had left him baffled, the United manager believing the fact Williams had got a touch on the ball should have worked in the home side’s favour.
He said: “The keeper could have walked at that point. Gaz is touch and go for offside and the new rule is a bit confusing. But for me it’s a big decision. Mackay-Steven has not touched the ball. The goalkeeper has gone to kick it and he’s made contact, then he’s pulled him down. So it’s one to talk about.”
Williams conceded the debate over the incident as he raced from his area in a bid to clear Nadir Ciftci’s though ball, will rage on – but insisted the offside flag had saved referee Steven McLean any further decision. He said: “There were no excuses, the ball sat up, and it came off the side of my foot. “It was just one of those things, but it had already been ruled offside, that takes the decision away from the referee, and when it happens you move on and do not let it affect you.”
And Williams was adamant the thought of an early bath hadn’t even entered his head. He said: “To be honest, you just don’t think about it. It just happened, the ball came off my foot, fell to him, and I was trying to get back more than blocking him from scoring.
“I think there was a man behind me in any case, so there would be arguments as to whether I was last man and whether he [Mackay-Steven] was in a goal-scoring position. It’s a debate that will rage on.”
Williams admitted conceding two goals in the final eight minutes of the game had left Terry Butcher’s players deflated, even though it stretched their unbeaten run to five matches and secured fifth place in the Scottish Premiership table.
He said: “It’s another point gained, another game unbeaten, but after dominating for as long as we did we’re obviously disappointed at being pegged back.”