A was a frustrated Alan Stubbs that met the media immediately after seeing his team drop yet another two points against part timers Dumbarton at Easter Road yesterday.
Things could and should have been much better for the Hibs’ Head Coach but two dreadful refereeing decisions from Barry Cook denied the new Manager of the Month the win that his players’ performance deserved.
Five minutes before half time, a Liam Craig header found Dominique Malonga unmarked eight yards from goal but as the striker was about to side foot the ball into the net he was brought down from behind by Dumbarton’s Andy Graham.
The rules clearly state that such an offence merits a red card but inexplicably Cook produced a yellow to the fury of the Hibs’ fans.
To make matters worse, Malonga’s poorly struck spot kick slipped under the body of ‘Sons’ keeper Danny Rogers who managed to pull the ball back after it had crossed the line. The ‘goal’ was seen by everyone within 50 yards of the goal, but not by Cook or his ‘assistant’ who waved play on.
The referee’s second half performance was equally poor of not worse than his first half’s and he seemed determined to show that the abuse from the home supporters would not influence him, but by doing so, he awarded every 50-50 decision to Dumbarton.
Ian Murray’s side were happy to waste time with the minutes ticking away, Cook continually pointed at his watch to show that he would be adding the time on at the end, however as predicted he failed to do so.
It has been almost 30 years since Dumbarton last visited Easter Road on League business but during that time there can’t have been many refereeing performances as poor as yesterdays.
Afterwards Stubbs tried to be diplomatic to avoid sanctions but his anger and frustration were evident as he addressed the media at the after match press conference.
He said: “It stings when the officials are 12 yards away and the fans are 60 yards away and they can see it. That’s the disappointing thing about it. We can’t replace bad decisions.
“There’s nothing we can do about that.
“When you’ve got two officials in close proximity to seeing the ball over the line then you would think that at least one of them would give it, but to be honest that wasn’t the only thing today so we have to get on with it.
“We can’t legislate for indifferent decisions let’s say to put it kindly. It’s difficult to comment on people’s performances because we can get in trouble.
“I’m presuming that he (the Referee) has probably had better days.
“It was a completely one-sided contest. If we score that goal or if the penalty goes in and we get the decision it’s a completely different game.
“I can’t fault the player’s attitude, the desire to get on the ball and to be brave, to look for passes. We kept doing it all afternoon and as long as they keep doing that I will never criticise them whatsoever.
The only thing we haven’t done today and obviously it’s the most important thing and we haven’t been rewarded for our play. They have come for what they wanted and we’ve dealt with the long balls and long throw ins but unfortunately we didn’t get the three points we deserved.
When you see very obvious decisions not going your way it could be very easy to think that it’s not going to be our day but the players kept going to the last whistle and I won’t fault them for that.
I know there is a little bit of frustration amongst the fans but I will say that today the frustrations were at the referee more than anything.
There was more bad news for the Head Coach after defender Liam Fontaine limped off midway through the second half.
Stubbs continued: “Lima Fontaine has a slight strain in his thigh muscle so we will evaluate it but he is looking to be a doubt for next week’s game.