Hibernian manager Lee Johnson launched a blistering attack on referee Craig Napier and his fellow officials after being left flabbergasted by what he felt was a “horrendous decision” to send off James Jeggo in the 1-1 draw at St Johnstone.
The Easter Road side secured their place in the top six of the cinch Premiership on a day when veteran Lewis Stevenson scored a rare goal in the 32nd minute to cancel out Stevie May’s opener for the hosts.
But most of Johnson’s lengthy post-match media briefing revolved around what he branded the worst officiating he has ever witnessed after the red card shown to Australian midfielder Jeggo early in the second half for a challenge on Saints’ Connor McLennan on the halfway line.
And Johnson admits he does not “trust” the Scottish Football Association’s disciplinary system to overturn the decision.
“The red card was a horrendous decision,” he said. “Jeggo gets a clear first contact on the ball, a good 0.5 seconds before (connecting with McLennan), and then his momentum carries him on.
“He doesn’t know if there’s someone there, he’s just stretching to compete.
“The St Johnstone player steams in, and both compete for the ball but the St Johnstone player gets nowhere near the ball and Jimmy wins it clearly.
“And did you see how quickly the referee whipped out the red card? And then to not go to the screen… honestly, it’s broken if that’s a sending-off.
“Seriously, it was like the show was all about the officials on too many occasions. It beggars belief.
“That’s as bad (officiating) as I’ve seen. I’ve probably played 1000 games as a player, including youth, 500-odd games as a manager, and that’s the worst I’ve seen. Unreal.”
Aberdeen midfielder Graeme Shinnie controversially had an extra game added to his ban earlier this week as the appeal over his recent red card against Ross County was deemed to be “frivolous” despite the incident sparking widespread debate.
Asked if he had doubts about appealing against Jeggo’s dismissal in light of such a recent precedent, Johnson said: “Yeah, because obviously a frivolous appeal ends up in an extra game, and I don’t trust it.
“It was a really poor performance from the official. As bad as I’ve seen.
“The game was bad, the pitch wasn’t conducive to any sort of philosophy, it was a battle at best, and I should be feeling quite happy that we’ve got the job done in terms of competing for a European spot and having moved up a place in the league, and this is a tough place to come.
“But it’s made tougher when there’s such poor consistency in terms of delivery (of the laws of the game).
“I don’t trust the system. I’ve been told (by the press officer) I’m not allowed to say what I want to do.”
Saints interim boss Steven MacLean – taking charge for the first time since Callum Davidson’s sacking last weekend – said: “There was only one team trying to win the game in the end, they were sitting in happy with the point.
“They made it difficult with 10 men but I thought we were excellent.
“We’re disappointed not to win the three points.”