Livingston manager David Martindale criticised the ‘horrendous’ decisions that went against his side after Callum Hendry’s early penalty gave St Johnstone a 1-0 victory at McDiarmid Park.
Martindale felt there was an offside in the build-up to Jack Fitzwater’s early challenge on Hendry which led to the decisive penalty.
He also believes referee Kevin Clancy should have awarded his team a spot-kick of their own for a potential handball by Saints’ Dan Cleary.
“For the first penalty, Murray Davidson is offside for the free-kick that comes in the box,” said Martindale.
“I think it’s harsh on Fitzwater, he’s just protecting the ball as it comes down, and I think Hendry goes in and makes the most of it but it’s offside for Murray Davidson at the first contact and the linesman’s looking straight across the line so there’s the first problem.
“The second problem, everyone in the stadium including the seagulls knew it was a penalty and how we are not given a penalty for that I will never know.
“I spoke to the St Johnstone team, I spoke to Zander (Saints goalkeeper Clark) and they’re saying ‘how did you not get a penalty?’. I also spoke to the St Johnstone management team.
“The significance of that decision could be massive for this football club – I’m fuming.”
The Livi boss also made a renewed plea for VAR to be introduced into Scottish football, following the decisions.
He said: “I don’t even talk to Kevin Clancy. You don’t get anything back. I spoke to Steven McLean at the side, Steven’s a very good official and he managed to calm me down but that’s a stonewall penalty.
“He gets the first offside wrong, he gets the penalty wrong then we don’t get a penalty – it’s really difficult trying to sit here and not blame officiating for where we are but when decisions go against you it’s really difficult to take to be honest.
“The players are all sitting in there gutted and what do I say to the players?
“They (officials) are only human beings, I get that. I could never do that job – I’d be sacked in a month but the sooner we get VAR in Scottish football the better because for me that was a horrendous decision that went against us, potentially two that changed the scoreline.”
Hendry’s third-minute penalty ended up settling the contest as St Johnstone moved to within six points of 10th-placed St Mirren in the race to avoid relegation.
Saints manager Callum Davidson is now urging his team to put more pressure on the sides above them.
He said: “I’m really pleased with that. I thought it was a really tough physical game in difficult conditions.
“We worked really hard as a group and we had an array of substitutes who came on as well and this helped us later on so I’m delighted to get three points.
“We want to win as many games as possible and see where it takes us.
“We were in a really difficult position after Christmas but you can see today the fighting spirit is there, the boys were all fighting for each other and the support was there.
“We’re trying to look upwards and we’re trying to remain positive. We’ve got a tough game next week (at Celtic) but if we can try to put some pressure on the teams above us then you never know what happens after the split.”
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