TWO major refereeing decisions cost Selkirk last weekend’s crucial league game against Gala Fairydean, according to Selkirk boss Mike McKinnon.
And the former Cowdenbeath striker has hit out at an appeals process which may hamper his side’s progress as they struggle to climb the East of Scotland First Division table.
McKinnon spoke out following the rather harsh dismissal of influential centre-half Jamie Higginbottom during last Saturday’s Yarrow Park clash for what appeared to all as a harmless toss of the ball to an opposition player. Higginbottom is now suspended for this weekend’s league encounter with Leith Athletic.
McKinnon told The Wee Paper: “I would like to appeal that red card, but it is pointless.”
He continued: “The red card should be rescinded straight away. But when you do appeal, you have to go through to Hampden, say your piece, take up witnesses – and they come down on the side of the referees every time.
“It is a shame because Jamie never deserved that and he is a massive player for us.”
In referee Michael Banks’ view, Higginbottom’s casual toss of the ball into the stomach of Gala Fairydean striker Jack Hay three minutes before half-time was violent conduct – and he was sent off in a moment which overshadowed the rest of this feisty derby.
Both coaches were in agreement that the decision was harsh and despite a spirited second-half fightback by his team, it was the sending off – as well as a handball appeal against Gala’s goal by that man Hay – which home manager Mike McKinnon focused on.
“Essentially, the two decisions in the first half cost us the game,” he added.
“I think Jack stuck his hand out for the goal and the sending off killed us.
“Jamie threw the ball towards Jack and the referee red-carded him.
“It spoilt the match, but to be fair to my team, we battered them in the second half.”
The game ended 1-0 to Gala and Selkirk now face Leith Athletic – who have a realistic chance of winning the division – with a mountain to climb.
“I think Leith will win the league,” said McKinnon, adding: “I know Coldstream are top now, but I have watched Leith and they have made some fantastic signings. The lad Craig Hume (ex-East Stirling) is a tremendous football player.
“It will be a completely different type of game. They are a real passing side and they can hurt you.”
Jamie Gibson returns to the fold this week following suspension and the team boss is looking to him to make an immediate impact.
He said: “We missed Jamie hugely against Gala. It was his type of game. Jonny Watt did well up front, but Jamie gives you some dig and threat.”
z Selkirk’s match against Leith tomorrow will now be played at Spartans’ 3G pitch at Ainslie Park with a 4pm kick-off.