Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes was left frustrated as Liam Donnelly’s second-half goal was disallowed in his side’s 1-0 defeat to St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.
Ash Taylor turned Stevie May’s shot into his own net after four minutes to give St Johnstone the lead, but the away side thought they had levelled when Donnelly tapped in from a corner in the 77th minute, but referee Craig Napier blew for a foul at the front post and his decision was upheld after a check by VAR.
McInnes said: “I’m really disappointed in the goal that was ruled out.
“There was no foul on the keeper. If there’s any foul on Stevie May, the contact is minimal.
“The keeper just needs to be stronger. There isn’t enough for a free-kick.”
The game’s other key moment came on the hour mark as Napier sent off St Johnstone’s James Brown for a foul on Donnelly. However, the official then reversed the decision and awarded a yellow card after a lengthy check at the pitchside monitor.
McInnes was disappointed at the amount of time taken to come to the decision.
He added: “I am not here to want players to be sent off. It could be a yellow, it could be a red – it’s on the referee to interpret it.
“For him to take just shy of four minutes to make the decision would suggest it’s not a clear and obvious error.
“We were told VAR would only get involved for that. But, in defence of the ref, he was given the same angle of the tackle for three-and-a-half minutes.
“We were told there would be different angles of incidents, but he kept getting the same one.
“It was so harsh on him. He had to get involved with VAR and came to the decision, but I disagreed with him.
“Whether he’s looking for reasons to suggest or he’s wrong or he’s trying to justify the red, he made the decision.
“He deemed it was a red and if VAR wasn’t here, you’d maybe say it was fair or harsh.
“Also, that took four minutes, we had a minute to sort the disallowed goal, the physio was on twice and there were eight subs – and we only got six minutes added.”
Saints boss Callum Davidson was delighted as his side secured back-to-back victories for the first time in the league this season, despite, by his own admission, not finding top gear.
He said: “It was one of those games, we had a plan to hit them on the break and to try and expose the space and I thought at times we did it okay in the first half.
“We got the goal. Again Stevie May, I thought the shift he put in was incredible. The pleasing thing was that we didn’t play particularly well and we’ve come away with three points again.
“That’s two games where I think there’s a lot more in the team, but again to come away with six points I’m really happy.”
Davidson also felt the referee got the big calls right as he urged patience while the officials get used to the VAR technology.
He added: “We’ve had some unfair decisions before this. VAR’s in to get the right decisions and sometimes it takes a little bit of time, but I’m happy they came to the right decision.
“That’s what we said, there would be a little bit of teething problems.
“The referees are going to get better. It’s difficult for them, it’s a new thing for them and they’re under an awful lot of pressure from everybody, so it’ll get quicker and they’ll get better and be more confident in making their decisions.
“At least the right decision came to fruition today.”
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