REFEREEING controversy last night marked a tempestuous Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle.
Hearts and Hibernian fought out a goalless draw but Willie Collum, the match official, was at the centre of the post-match analysis after the hosts' Ryan Stevenson escaped sanction for a reckless tackle on James McPake and Hearts were denied a first-half penalty when McPake seemed to bring down Scott Robinson.
Ryan McGivern, the Hibs defender, said of the Stevenson lunge: "It was a disgusting tackle. The ref has said the two boys were going for it but if you see it back on the TV, Stevenson has had a little look and he is going to try and do him. He has done that and I think the referee has had a wee bit of a stinker there by letting that one go."
He added: "It's definitely a red card tackle. James is the type of guy who is not going to make a fuss and, although he said to the ref it was a two-footed lunge, everyone has seen it except him. He's got quite a nasty cut on his leg."
Pat Fenlon, the Hibs manager, was also angry. "It is a shocking tackle," he said. "It is a very, very poor tackle. He has left the ground and he has had a look first so I am very disappointed with that."
He said that McPake had suffered a "bad gash", adding: "There could have been a bit of damage but he is not too bad."
John McGlynn, the Hearts manager, was equally unimpressed. He believed his side should have had a first-half penalty when Robinson was caught by McPake and the ball ran to Andrew Driver, who shot wide. There was some speculation that Collum might have been playing advantage, as he did in the recent Dundee derby, but in that match he ultimately awarded the penalty after the goal-scoring opportunity was missed.
McGlynn said that he had not had a chance to see the Stevenson tackle again, but he said of his player's challenge: He said: "The referee was in a good position it is a derby game and it is very competitive. In derby games four or five years ago that would not have been an issue."
McGlynn said of the McPake tackle on Robinson: "I thought it could well have been a penalty. It was a similar situation to Dundee against Dundee United with the same referee when a player has been caught late and play has gone and then he has given a penalty. Tonight he has taken a different view on that. I though it was a penalty."
The Hearts manager believed that his side had the better of the play and the chances, saying: "It is another game where we merited the win and it is ultimately two points dropped. We should be sitting up there beside Celtic considering the number of points that we have dropped in games that we have dominated."