McInnes rages as Killie denied by a triple bill of video nasties

By Ewing Grahame AT RUGBY PARK



dmg media (UK)


IT WOULD seem that the longer we persevere with VAR in this country, the worse it functions. Games are now seemingly being refereed and re-refereed by officials in Clydesdale House rather than the ones on the field of play who increasingly lack the confidence to make the big calls themselves. Yesterday there were three big decisions, all of which went against the home team. Kilmarnock had a goal controversially disallowed and were denied two stonewall penalties. Those calls may yet see Kilmarnock relegated, although the Ayrshire side’s performance here was not that of a team who had resigned themselves to that fate. Manager Derek McInnes was, u n d e r s t a n d a b l y, f r u s t r a t e d afterwards. ‘It’s the decision with big Andy Considine. He was like that to me: “I don’t know how I got away with that”. He knew right away it’s hit his arm. It’s fully extended. ‘I asked the referee: “Why were you not asked to look at that?” He told me VAR said they had checked it and there was no need to look at it. ‘Then for our disallowed goal, the fourth official tried to explain to me during the game when he said the ball had hit Kyle Vassell’s arm before he put it over the line. ‘He said any player who handles the ball and gets an obvious advantage, i.e. a goal, has to be penalised. I haven’t seen the Rory McKenzie (penalty claim) again. ‘I thought the referee had a decent game, but it’s like VAR was brought in to help and aid the referees and give them that chance to have a second look at things. ‘I think we seem to be looking at so many things that aren’t needing looked at again and not many things we should be looking at again, particularly that penalty kick. ‘It’s frustrating. You hear (Celtic manager) Ange Postecoglou and whoever talking and almost scoffing at VAR as if they get nothing. While we — if you look at it — have had zilch. Honestly, it’s ridiculous — we don’t seem to get any breaks at all.’ Vassell had put the ball in the net in the 19th minute after a Joe Wright header had struck him on the arm, although the striker’s arm was in front of his chest and not making his body bigger. Referee Chris Graham awarded the goal but VAR official Mike Roncone disagreed and, after checking the monitor on the half-way line, he disallowed it. Killie then opened the scoring for real as Wright fired in at the far post after Remi Matthews failed to read the flight of a Jordan Jones cross. The decision in the 56th minute not to award the hosts a penalty when Considine slam-dunked a cross away from Wright was bizarre, with that particular offence not deemed worthy of a second look. Saints equalised with a tremendous strike from 25 yards by Drey Wright before Rory McKenzie was upended inside the penalty area by Considine. The Saints defender was cautioned but VAR insisted the offence took place outside the box, without asking Graham to watch a replay. St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson was relieved to salvage a point from an afternoon where, particularly in the opening 45 minutes, his team had been a distant second best. ‘In the first half I asked the players to do certain things — play the ball forward, put pressure on them, ask questions of defenders, deal with first and second contacts and don’t give away cheap free-kicks and throw-ins near our penalty area — and we didn’t do any of them,’ he said. ‘I was very annoyed at half-time because that’s probably the worst first 45 minutes since I’ve been in charge but what I can say is that I was pleased by the way they responded in the second half. ‘They managed to regain their composure and it’s sometimes nice to pick up a point when you haven’t played as well as you know you can.’