Hibernian have been warned their appeal against Jimmy Jeggo’s red card is far from a foregone conclusion.
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 Jeggo in the 1-1 cinch Premiership draw with St Johnstone on Saturday.
Australian midfielder Jeggo was shown a red card early in the second half after catching Connor McLennan with his boot after sliding in to win the ball.
The wrongful dismissal claim will be heard on Wednesday by an independent panel convened by the Scottish Football Association.
Napier’s decision to swiftly brandish the red card has been praised by former Scottish top-flight referee Stuart Dougal. Video assistant referee Chris Graham did not intervene.
Dougal told BBC Scotland: “VAR will have seen the referee making a very swift red card decision and people were criticising the referee for brandishing the red card very quickly. That’s good refereeing. He had a great angle, he was out quickly with the card, it saves the St Johnstone players possibly remonstrating with the Hibs players.
“VAR can’t get involved unless he thinks it’s a clear and obvious error.
“How do we know if it’s a clear and obvious error? Let’s look at the laws of the game. They are pretty explicit when it tells referees, if a tackle endangers the safety of an opponent. If you’re going in studs-up, right away you’re running the risk, if you make connection you’re endangering the safety of an opponent.
“Is there excessive force? Jeggo was definitely lunging towards an opponent there, studs showing.
“VAR can’t get involved there. There’s been a lot of criticism of VAR in that game and I think it’s misplaced criticism, because the laws are there and the protocol’s there.
“You can criticise the referee’s decision, but when we go to the laws of the game, that’s how you judge a referee’s decision, not just what you think you should as a player, ex-player, pundit or a manager.
“We’ve got to be careful that we don’t just jump to conclusions without looking at the laws of the game.”
Dougal’s analysis was criticised by his fellow BBC pundit, former Hibs midfielder Michael Stewart.
Stewart wrote on Twitter: “Here’s a massive problem in Scottish football right here. Embarrassing stuff.
“This description would make you think Jeggo is endangering McLennan life. It’s so far fetched and inaccurate is a major problem.
“The wee condescending comment at the end is quite revealing too. It’s as if everyone else don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Former English top-flight referee Dermot Gallagher also stated the VAR official should not intervene.
Gallagher told Sky Sports: “This could have gone either way, but when it’s given on the pitch I would suggest the VAR will never intervene.
“He lunges. He gets a lot of the ball but he does get the man as well. He is low but I think it’s all about what the referee’s decision is on the field.”