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Callum Davidson calls for consistency from referees after St Johnstone defeat

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson wants consistency from referees (Andrew Milligan/PA)
St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson wants consistency from referees (Andrew Milligan/PA)

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson has called for ‘consistency’ after his 10-man side were stung by a late goal in a 1-0 defeat to Hibernian at McDiarmid Park on the opening day of the cinch Premiership season.

Josh Campbell’s late header appeared to go in off team-mate Rocky Bushiri as the away side eventually made their pressure tell in the 90th minute of the match.

The Saints boss was left aggrieved that Murray Davidson had earlier received a red card from referee Euan Anderson for a foul on Ryan Porteous, while Hibs debutant Marijan Cabraja was only shown yellow for a late tackle on Ryan McGowan in the same area of the pitch later in the second half.

He said: “I’m looking for consistency in decisions, that’s the biggest thing for me. There were two massive talking points in the game.

“I thought it was a hard-fought game, we worked really hard without the ball but could have been better with it. Then Murray Davidson’s sending off, whether it was or not is debatable.

“We then come to that second tackle (by Cabraja), to me it’s the exact same tackle and there’s no difference at all and he gives him a yellow, and then we concede a goal in the last minute due to those decisions so it’s really hard to take.

“They are either both a yellow or they are both a red – I just cannot understand the decision, it’s just the consistency I’m looking for.

“I said to Murray ‘you can’t give him opportunities to make a decision’, that’s one thing for my players, I’m annoyed we’ve had three sendings off so far but you’ve got to have consistent decisions from the referee.”

Asked if he would look to appeal the red card, Davidson added: “I think so – it depends if I can appeal it on the grounds of another tackle in the same game, it’s one of those and we will need to look at it because he’s an important player for us and I don’t want to lose him.”

Hibernian boss Lee Johnson, meanwhile, agreed that his side had been fortunate with certain decisions from the officials, as they bounced back from their disappointing Premier Sports Cup exit to win their league opener.

He said: “In the end we wore them down, created space and made them leggy with our athleticism and obviously got the sending off which you could say, depending on how you see it, a little bit of luck, good fortune but then it becomes really difficult to break a team down.

“To be honest I thought it was a yellow and a half. I know as a midfielder myself you get caught on your heels and you’re stretching and I don’t think he’s gone to hurt anybody, I just think he’s gone to slide and win the ball with a bit of a lunge but not a stud lunge and that’s why I wouldn’t have given the red but it was high enough to be a bit of a dangerous tackle.

“If it (the red card) happened against me I would have been devastated as a player or as a manager.”