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More Fans Will Be Disillusioned By Sfa Decisions Says Ex-Aberdeen Player Steve Tosh

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:21 AM

Former Pittodrie midfielder Steve Tosh reckons the Dons will feel they have been “stabbed in the heart twice” by the SFA over Mikey Devlin’s red card.

He also warned the SFA risk alienating fans from the game as recent controversial disciplinary decisions muddy the water on what constitutes a red card offence.

The SFA have belatedly revealed the reasons why the fast-track appeals panel rejected the Dons’ appeal for wrongful dismissal.

A written statement issued by the SFA says referee Craig Thomson made “no obvious error” in dismissing Devlin just five minutes into the Dons 2-0 loss to Kilmarnock.

However, there remains no response from referee Thomson.

Despite Aberdeen showing footage of Eamonn Brophy tugging Devlin’s shirt from multiple angles to the panel, their appeal was still unsuccessful.

Tosh reckons the Devlin decision is a “bitter pill to swallow” for the Dons – who released their own statement this morning citing a lack of trust at the SFA’s appeal process – in light of recent decisions by the revamped SFA disciplinary system.

Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos had his red card overturned for lashing out at Aberdeen’s Scott McKenna off the ball in the opening game of the season.

Then Rangers keeper Allan McGregor escaped any sanction for kicking out at Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer.

Tosh said: “Nothing will ever surprise me with the SFA. How they cannot overturn Devlin’s red card is baffling.

“Craig Thomson is meant to be one of our best referees but how can he not be culpable, how can he not be questioned?

“What makes it a bitter pill to swallow is that they cannot even say after the game we made a mistake and you will get your player available for the next game.

“It feels like you have been stabbed through the heart twice.”

The Devlin incident occurred 35 yards from goal on the right flank with right-back Shay Logan tracking back to cover.

A furious Aberdeen argued it happened so far from goal, and with Logan moving across, it was not a clear goal-scoring opportunity for Brophy.

In the opening game of the season Rangers’ Morelos was sent off by referee Kevin Clancy for a clear-kick out at McKenna off the ball.

The Ibrox clubs appeal was upheld and the Columbian’s red was downgraded to yellow, allowing him to play in the next league game.

Morelos scored in that match, a 2-0 defeat of St Mirren.

Aberdeen defender Devlin will miss tomorrow’s league trip to St Johnstone through suspension.

Tosh said: “Morelos was given a red card for violent conduct by kicking out at McKenna.

“They overturned the Morelos incident when there was evidence of a kick but then would not overturn the Devlin one when there is clear evidence showing there is not an offence.

“Aberdeen fans were asking for clarity and I am glad they were making a noise. However, the bottom line is the more fans become disillusioned by these type of decisions, the more they stay away from games and the less money comes into it. Then the standard will drop because there is no money for football clubs to spend.”

The SFA have published the reasons why the fast-track appeals panel, made up of three ex-grade one officials, upheld Devlin’s sending off.

The written statement says the panel reviewed video footage of the incident at different angles and speeds.

They were convinced “on a balance of probabilities, that the referee had not made an obvious refereeing error in concluding that the player’s challenge on the Kilmarnock No. 25 (Brophy) was one where the latter was denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.”

The judgment went on to say: “The tribunal further found, on a balance of probabilities, that the referee’s decision to dismiss the player for denying the opposing team or an opponent a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity was not a clear, self-evident, or easily perceived error.”

No mention of Logan was made, nor the suggestion Brophy had pulled Devlin’s shirt first, in the written reasons.

Tosh said: “Referees and officials are very well paid at about £1,000 per game in the Scottish Premiership and Thomson will be officiating this weekend and picking up that money.

“Yet Devlin will sit out the game at St Johnstone and pick up nothing. He will not get appearance money and if Aberdeen win he will not get a win bonus, due to a refereeing mistake.

“How can that be a fair system?

“Aberdeen may not have lost that game to Kilmarnock had Devlin stayed on, but we will never know.

“Derek McInnes worked with his players all week but after five minutes the whole game plan goes out the window.”

There has been growing disquiet about the SFA’s revamped disciplinary system this season.

Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke hit out at it recently after a red card to Gary Dicker was upheld and was this week issued with two charges by the SFA.

Yesterday, Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon also expressed doubts over the panel at a press conference.

The fast-track appeals panel heard the Devlin case last Wednesday but it has taken more than a week for the SFA to deliver the reasoning behind the decision.

Tosh reckons a solution could be to make referees available to answer questions after a match to get some immediate clarity. He said: “The manager or assistant manager must face the press after the game – so why can’t we do the same with officials.

“Before the start of the season, all the managers should get together and should be able to come up with 10 questions based on the game.

“Then they, or journalists, should be able to ask the referee three of them at the end of every match.

“You cannot deviate from the questions agreed at the start of the season – but those would be enough.

“The answer from the referee might just be that from the angle he saw the incident from he thought it was a red, but will take another look.

“That would appease the situation right away.”

The SFA did not respond to a request for comment.

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