Technology key to refs getting it right – Stubbs

Falkirk surround referee Alan Muir after he awarded Hibs a controversial penalty on Tuesday night

Falkirk surround referee Alan Muir after he awarded Hibs a controversial penalty on Tuesday night

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ALAN STUBBS has called for the use of technology to help referees avoid the sort of blunder which gifted Hibs victory over Falkirk.

The Easter Road head coach admitted ref Alan Muir’s decision to award his side a penalty as midfielder John McGinn ran into the Bairns’ Blair Alston on Tuesday was “harsh” and one which would have left him as aggrieved as Falkirk boss Peter Houston. While accepting match officials will always make mistakes, Stubbs insisted all involved in the game just wanted consistency and for the bigger calls to be made right.

He said: “I would like to see some form of technology. If it’s better for the game and means getting the most important decisions right, then that’s got to be a positive response for the game.

“If he is being honest, I think Alan will look back on that decision and say ‘yes, I’ve got that wrong’. But referees do make mistakes. We always want every game to go by with officials having a really good game, overseeing a good game of football and we don’t need to talk about them. But when there are big decisions they don’t necessarily get right, it becomes a real topic of conversation.”

Although accepting Hibs had been the beneficiary of a wrong call in this instance, Stubbs believes his side should have been awarded a penalty seconds earlier when Easter Road skipper David Gray was barged in the box. He said: “There have been times this season when we haven’t been given them.

“I think if you look back they were penalties. We are all looking for consistency, That’s the one thing we all look for. They want to be consistent but they will make mistakes. The one thing we all want is that they get the bigger calls right more often than not.”

Stubbs also queried the absence of a fourth official at Falkirk although Championship matches – unless they are being televised – normally only have a refereee and two assistants. The reason, he said, being that when there is a full fixture card there are not enough to go round.

Four officials were on duty on Tuesday night at Ibrox for Rangers Petrofac Training Cup clash with Livingston, a game screened live by BBC ALBA, but, as Stubbs pointed out, Hibs’ game at Falkirk was the only other one on that evening.

He said: “It may not look it, but they (fourth officials) play a part. They speak and are in conjunction with the other officials as the game goes on. More often than not they are there to manage the technical areas, but they also help out with other little things on the pitch.

“I don’t know how they are allocated and it is very rare that we have them. The reason we are normally given is that there is a full card of fixtures on and there are not enough officials. Well, on Tuesday there were two games on in Scotland and you would think there would be enough officials. It was third playing fourth so I would have thought that would have been recognised as a big game.”