Willie Collum 'needs a rest' say ex-referees as they discuss Hibs penalty call and Rangers 'simulation' claim

Two former referees have agreed that Willie Collum should have awarded Hibs a penalty in their 2-2 draw with Rangers – and insisted the whistler was wrong to point to the spot for the Light Blues’ opener.
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Steve Conroy and Des Roache were discussing Saturday’s Scottish Premiership match on the Get Involved Referee! podcast and felt that the Easter Road side were unlucky not to win a penalty following an incident between James Tavernier and Rocky Bushiri.

Both ex-whistlers also questioned the decision to give Rangers a spot-kick after Bushiri and Antonio Čolak had a coming-together in the box.

Hibs penalty shout

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Explaining his take on Hibs’ claims for a penalty, Conroy said: "Tavernier had more than a handful of the Hibs player and dragged him down. For me, it’s a penalty.”

Roache added: “I think there’s enough contact. Paul Hanlon was maybe holding Tavernier to get a bit higher but there was certainly enough of Tavernier grabbing hold of Bushiri to make it a questionable decision.

"If the penalty had been given I don’t think anybody could have had any complaints.”

Rangers penalty

Former SPFL referes Steve Conroy, left, and Des RoacheFormer SPFL referes Steve Conroy, left, and Des Roache
Former SPFL referes Steve Conroy, left, and Des Roache

Discussing the Rangers penalty, Conroy opined that Collum had ‘wrongly’ awarded the spot-kick, adding: “[Bushiri] touched him but he didn’t pull him, push him, shove him, punch him. Unless they’ve changed it, there’s no law saying if you touch or attempt to touch someone it’s a direct free-kick.”

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Hibs raise concerns with refereeing chief over 'inconsistencies' in Rangers draw
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Roache agreed: “He’s brushed against him and Čolak goes down. You also have to look at the opportunity for either of them to play the ball.

“Bushiri and Čolak are never going to get it, it’s going straight through to David Marshall in goals.

"Why is Čolak going down? To me that’s diving, so he should have got a yellow for simulation. It’s not a penalty.”

Conroy continued: “If the SFA come out and say that’s a justifiable penalty then every corner, every cross, there’s going to be a penalty.”

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Both former referees felt the introduction of VAR would overturn such an award, but Roache pointed out: “The person operating VAR would have to have the gumption to say, ‘Willie, you need to look at this’ – because we all know there are certain people who won’t have the wherewithal to do that – but in my opinion it’s got to be reviewed.”

Collum: More and more errors cropping up

Conroy added: “I don’t want to speak badly of him but I think that’s as bad a performance as I have seen from Willie. He’s prone to erratic performances but from our most senior, most decorated referee that was just bad.

“That was his third Premiership game and there have been talking points in all three of them so far. Does he maybe need a rest?”

Roache agreed, saying: “I’m not calling for Willie to retire but there are more errors cropping up. We’ve just seen a few major ones in a massive game early in the season.

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"His experience should have been enough to get him through that game but I just think there are more and more small errors.

“I think the SFA will stick with him and support him. If they don’t, that sends a big signal.”

Conroy added: “If they come out and say the Rangers penalty was correct, or John Lundstram’s challenge was a red, then I think that would lead to chaos, and bedlam.”