Darren McGregor has called for referees to be allowed to explain themselves after a disputed penalty decision left Hibs boss Neil Lennon raging.
Whistler Kevin Clancy pointed to the spot when a shot from Kilmarnock’s Alan Power struck Hibs defender Ryan Porteous although the youngster appeared to have pulled his right elbow close to his body.
Kris Boyd scored after goalkeeper Ofir Marciano saved his initial effort, an equaliser for the Ayrshire club after they’d gone two down in the first nine minutes to goals from Florian Kamberi and Porteous.
Clancy’s call left Lennon livid, the Hibs head coach sent to the stand as he sarcastically clapped the official before later launching a ferocious attack not only on him but the entire SFA refereeing system which he branded “amateur” and “Mickey Mouse”.
Lennon’s mood wasn’t helped by the fact Clancy had refused to award Hibs a penalty during a December clash with Rangers at Easter Road when, as they trailed 2-1, visiting defender David Bates clearly handled the ball. The latest decision led Lennon to claim the referee’s action in sending him off was “personal” as he’d criticised him for that earlier call.
Having also accused Clancy of making the decision based on nothing more than guesswork, Lennon acknowledged his outburst is certain to land him in hot water with the SFA and, most likely, a touchline ban. But McGregor shared his manager’s view that it wasn’t a spot-kick, saying: “For me, being a defender I can’t see how the referee can give it.
“Ryan came out and went to block the shot, and it strikes his elbow. But for anyone who has played the game, in terms of your arm being in an unnatural position, his arm was in a natural position.
“Ryan is blocking a shot coming at him from the right-hand side and he’s got his arm in against his body.
“I’m not sure if the ref actually thought it was his left hand the ball had hit, but obviously he got it wrong. I’d like to hear what he had to say about it, but for me it is definitely not a penalty.
“Ryan is five yards away, making the block, and it has smashed him in the elbow. I can’t see how he can give it.”
McGregor believes more transparency would help relations between players and match officials, citing how referee Steven McLean admitted to him he’d got it wrong in not giving a goal when Oli Shaw’s shot clearly crossed the line at Tynecastle.
The defender said: “Obviously, it was an unjust decision but Steven McLean said to be during the game ‘listen, I’ve made a mistake,’ so he had the courage to come out and say that. You get these mistakes being made.
“But it would certainly give us a bit of clarity [if referees could speak out]. It is always refreshing to hear someone’s opinion, especially the man who has given such a decision.
“It would certainly clear things up if he could say why he has actually given it.”
McGregor admitted he didn’t seek an explanation from Clancy but added: “I think John [McGinn] went over and tried to remonstrate with him – but he wasn’t interested.”