Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes backed referee John Beaton for refusing to send off Curtis Main against Rangers on Sunday – but admits Ryan Hedges had to walk for his challenge on Alfredo Morelos.
Hedges was dismissed with the Pittodrie clash goalless after tripping the Colombian in the box just as he was about to shoot.
But the Dons were spared going down to nine when Main lunged in with a shocking studs-up challenge on Borna Barisic just before half-time.
Beaton decided the tackle only merited a yellow card and McInnes insisted that was the right call.
The Reds boss – whose side lost 2-1 after Matty Kennedy’s second-half strike proved not to be enough following Morelos’ double for the Premiership leaders – said: “It was a yellow card for me.
“Everyone is getting their knickers in a twist about it but it was a yellow card and no more.
“It was a robust challenge but it’s a yellow every day of the week. I have seen it again.
“He goes in too aggressively, so it’s a booking, but he hasn’t hurt the boy, he’s fine.
“A lot of people are losing their marbles a bit there, but the right decision was made by the referee.”
On Hedges’ sending-off, McInnes added: “I did (have complaints) at the time. My feeling at the time was Ryan did everything he could not to make the challenge.
“He didn’t want to run into the back of Morelos and as a consequence we knew Morelos would get his shot away. You can see it with Hedges’ body movement.
“The irony is, if we had actually made an attempt and swiped him down and not won the ball, he would have got a yellow card and we could have continued to play with 11 men.
“It seems a really unfair outcome but John Beaton explained it to me at half-time.
“He said, ‘I’ve nowhere to go with this. I know it was accidental but because it wasn’t a genuine attempt it has to be a red card’. Once he explained it you have to say it was the right decision based on the laws.”
James Tavernier failed to convert from the spot after Hedges had given away the penalty but Morelos capped his return to form with a clinical brace to fire Rangers 22 points clear at the top of the table.
Rangers have now won 15 straight Premiership fixtures and midfielder Steven Davis told Sky Sports: “We are in a good place but we need to keep it going and to keep setting standards.
“I think there was an improvement in performance from last week’s win over Celtic even though we got the win and it is important we keep pushing in that direction.
“Over the course of the season we are going to be asked different questions and face different challenges.
“We have dealt with things so far but there is still a lot of football to be played. We will rest, recover and get ready to go again next weekend against Motherwell.”