'Heated exchange' at Celtic Park as furious Hibs chief confronts SFA officials over refereeing performance

Hibs are demanding answers from the Scottish FA in the wake of Steven McLean’s refereeing performance during Saturday’s 3-1 defeat by Celtic.
Hibs players appeal to referee Steven McLean during the 3-1 defeat by CelticHibs players appeal to referee Steven McLean during the 3-1 defeat by Celtic
Hibs players appeal to referee Steven McLean during the 3-1 defeat by Celtic

Club chiefs are understood to have been furious with several aspects of the whistler’s display, most notably the second yellow card shown to forward Élie Youan for what the official deemed a ‘reckless challenge’ on Hoops centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers midway through the first half, and chief executive Ben Kensell became embroiled in a heated exchange with SFA officials at the stadium immediately after the cinch Premiership fixture.

The Evening News understands Hibs feel that the experienced referee got every major decision wrong – including the VAR-assisted award of a penalty for the Capital club, which Josh Campbell scored on 39 minutes to give the ten-man visitors an unlikely lead.

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McLean used VAR again early in the second half to award Celtic a penalty in similar circumstances while an additional award for Ange Postecoglou’s side, initially given after David Marshall was adjudged to have felled Celtic substitute Liel Abada in the area, was overturned along with a yellow card for the goalkeeper after the referee had viewed the incident again.

It is not the first time that Hibs have felt refereeing decisions have gone against them, with chief executive Ben Kensell previously seeking answers from referees chief Crawford Allan. Kensell last month labelled some of the decisions that had gone against Hibs as ‘criminal’, saying: “As a club we are trying to have constructive conversations behind closed doors but we are getting immensely frustrated that the same mistakes are being made despite [VAR] technology being there and despite minutes being spent on decisions. We just can’t see how some of the decisions are being made so we are challenging that the whole time.

“They do come back to us and the conversations that we have are constructive. They are robust at times in terms of the nature and the tone, but it has never got to the point that they refuse to discuss the reasons why or accept that some mistakes have been made."

Hibs have previously received apologies from the SFA for decisions that went against them in away games against Dundee United and Rangers, and further dialogue is expected between the two parties in the coming days.

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