Malky Mackay frustrated with referee and VAR after Ross County’s late defeat

By Sports Desk May 20, 2023

Ross County manager Malky Mackay was left hugely frustrated by referee Euan Anderson and two VAR interventions after his side fell to a Kevin van Veen penalty nine minutes into stoppage time at Motherwell.

County had a penalty award rescinded in their 1-0 defeat after video assistant Willie Collum intervened but Mackay was further aggrieved that Anderson had not let play continue for another couple of seconds before giving the spot-kick – the ball fell for George Harmon whose shot was touched over by Liam Kelly after the whistle blew.

County substitute Owura Edwards was sent off for two quickfire bookings not long before Keith Watson was penalised for handball following a VAR review during what turned out to be 15 minutes of stoppage time.

Mackay, whose side remain in the bottom two, said: “For the penalty we didn’t get, I believe there’s a possibility that Alex Samuel was brought down and then there was the challenge on Connor Randall, which I haven’t seen often enough to decide whether or not it’s a clear penalty.

“The ref thinks it was a stonewall penalty and those were his exact words because I went on to the pitch to ask him. My bugbear is that he makes a genuine error by not letting the move run out because he blows the whistle before the ball breaks to George Harmon. He needs to let the move happen.

“Someone sitting in a room decides. He’s involved in the game, watching it happen in real time from five yards away. The guy in the studio, meanwhile, is looking at frames and looking at stills, which we all know is something different.

“VAR is refereeing football in Scotland, not referees. Most managers in the Premiership I speak to can’t believe where the bar has been set for these decisions in this country compared to what we see in England for example.

“It makes it sickening when VAR decides in the 96th minute that it’s a penalty when it flicks Keith Watson’s hand when he’s not even looking at it.

“I spoke to their goalkeeper and he couldn’t believe a penalty was given. I’d also be interested to discover how many other games have had 12 minutes of added time this season.

“And then for the two bookings – were they dreadful challenges considering there was a player, and I will not name him, who has committed five fouls and not been booked?

“It’s one of those days where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.”

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell felt both penalty decisions were ultimately correct.

“I was a bit frustrated – Dan Casey has an effort first half which I felt was going in the back of the net, which I think comes off Keith Watson’s hand,” he said.

“I am delighted they took their time over the Calum Butcher one because it’s absolutely brilliant defending, he gets a touch on the ball and you can see it change direction. So, for me, correct call.

“Then it comes in the second half, whether it’s a slice of luck or the correct decision then I don’t think any of us know.

“But generally if it’s heading towards goal or there’s a clear opportunity and it comes off a hand then it seems to be a penalty.

“I have seen another camera angle where it looks as if it is falling beautifully for him (Jonathan Obika) and he is probably going to bash it in the back of the net.”

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