Bonnyrigg Rose boss Robbie Horn critical of referee Colin Whyte after 2-1 defeat to league leaders Stirling Albion

Bonnyrigg Rose boss Robbie Horn was left flabbergasted by the decision-making of referee Colin Whyte as his side slipped to a 2-1 defeat at league leaders Stirling Albion.

Striker Kevin Smith had cancelled out Dale Carrick's 16th-minute opener at Forthbank five minutes before the interval only for the hosts to be awarded a dubious second-half penalty after Neil Martyniuk's challenge on Kai Fotheringham - Carrick converting past goalkeeper Mark Weir in what proved to be the winner.

The New Dundas Park outfit then saw their chances of an equaliser go up in smoke when Callum Connolly was given his marching orders five minutes from time for picking up a second booking.

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Rose remain seventh in League Two and three points better off than bottom side Annan.

Kevin Smith draws Bonnyrigg level at Forthbank. Picture: Joe Gilhooley LRPS.

"It was frustrating to lose an early goal but the boys didn't hide and they showed a lot of character to bounce back," Horn said afterwards. "We'd worked on a lot of things during the week. We tried to get on the ball but we probably didn't carry enough of a threat in the final third, but the goal we scored was great. We got ourselves back in the game.

"But the reaction of my players and also what the Stirling players said to me is that it wasn't a penalty, so that's really disappointing. It's another big decision that has gone against us by the same referee. So, we make changes to try and get back in the game and then we're down to ten men and it was the best challenge of the game!

"Even their bench said he won the ball cleanly so I'll need to see it again and from another angle. And, if I'm wrong, then I'll apologise, but I think it was a fair tackle as the ball was there to be won. After that, it just allowed them to see the game out against ten men as we couldn't get forward to cause them any problems.

" But they are a good side, they're top of the league for a reason. I thought we competed against them really well and I think it was a reaction after last weekend's Scottish Cup defeat. We've got to take the positives."