'Always given as a penalty' - Ex-referee has say on Hibs penalty and handball claim against Aberdeen

Former referee Dermot Gallagher has waded into the fall-out from Hibs’ 3-1 victory over Aberdeen, analysing two big moments from the first half of the Scottish Premiership clash on Saturday.

Scrutinising footage of the match on Sky Sports, the former English Premier League official first dealt with the handball claim against Ross McCrorie in the first half.

Gallagher said: “He doesn’t mean to do it, he goes to head the ball – no doubt about that but his arm’s outstretched so if that went to VAR in England, that would be always be given as a penalty.”

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On the spot-kick that Hibs were given, for Liam Scales’ foul on Ryan Porteous which resulted in a second yellow and a sending-off for the on-loan Celtic defender, Gallagher said the Dons centre-back had taken a ‘massive risk’ as he pointed out both players were grappling with each other.

"The argument is, when does push come to shove? But if you look at it, he hauls [Porteous] down. It’s a massive risk to take.

“From the referee’s angle, he sees Scales haul him down, so the official thinks it’s a yellow-card offence in addition to the penalty.

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“The player has already had a yellow card so unfortunately he has to go.”

Asked if VAR would have awarded a free kick for Porteous tugging Scales’ shirt, Gallagher wasn’t so sure.

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Ryan Porteous appeals for a penalty after going down under Liam Scales' challenge

"VAR would award the free kick for the shirt-pull if they decided it was a clear and obvious error by the referee and if it met the threshold,” he explained.

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"But VAR can’t get involved in the red card because it’s a second yellow.”