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McCurry admits to Ibrox mistakes

Referee Mike McCurry
McCurry courted controversy at Ibrox on Saturday

Referee Mike McCurry has admitted that he was wrong not to award a penalty and to disallow a goal for Dundee United in their 3-1 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox.

United were denied what seemed a clear penalty and had a goal chalked off for offside in a controversial second half.

Having seen television replays, McCurry explained that his view was blocked at the penalty claim and his assistant referee flagged offside for the "goal".

The defeat ended United's hopes of clinching a Uefa Cup place.

Writing on the Scottish FA's Whistleblower website, McCurry said that he saw Noel Hunt fall to the ground with David Weir in close behind him and that his vantage point of what had happened was poor.

"I believe that were it not for the fact that I had been caught out of position by the quick transfer of play I would have awarded Dundee United a penalty and would have cautioned the Rangers player David Weir," he said.

"In my opinion there was another defender in close proximity with the possible opportunity to make a defensive challenge on the attacker."

McCurry also initially thought that the disallowed goal by Danny Swanson should stand, but that his assistant referee Stuart MacAulay flagged for offside.

"I informed the assistant referee that it appeared to me that the ball was deflected off a Rangers player. He told me that he had not seen it touch a Rangers player but had definitely seen it played by the Dundee United player, David Robertson," he said.

"Given that David Robertson was behind the Rangers player, my view was such that I could not tell if the ball had been played by Mr Robertson last before entering the goal. Consequently, I decided to accept the advice of my assistant referee."

Dundee United are to complain to SFA chief executive Gordon Smith about McCurry's handling of the match.

"It is widely thought that there is a bias shown against 'provincial' clubs when visiting Glasgow," Tannadice director Derek Robertson said.

"Saturday's game is highlighted as a prime example of this."

"This is damaging to the game as a whole and Dundee United believes that this situation should not be allowed to continue without careful examination and constructive proposals and dialogue between the clubs and the authorities," Robertson said.

I thought Mike McCurry had the balls to stand up and give these decisions

Dundee United manager Craig Levein

"For the record, the club will be backing the manager on all the important issues raised by him following the match in question and hope that his honestly held views can be used as a catalyst for constructive change."

United manager Craig Levein was furious with referee McCurry after Saturday's game.

"We had a blatant penalty and he bottled it," he said.

"If it's not a level playing field and, if we don't get the decisions, blatant, important decisions then what is the point of turning up?"

"I thought Mike McCurry had the balls to stand up and give these decisions," Levein said.

"Not only is it a penalty kick, but it's a sending off for Davie Weir. But he didn't want to do it because this game meant so much to Rangers."

Levein said he asked the referee what was the point of his players turning up if they were to be the victims of such decisions.

"Anybody who is of a fair mind watching that today would see that we had no chance of winning that.

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"We get a perfectly good goal chalked off and a blatant penalty, with not even a decision to make, and it should've been a sending off."

Levein's strong words could lead to disciplinary action from the Scottish FA and its chief executive, Gordon Smith, has hit back at the comments.

"To impinge on a man's integrity in this way is extremely unfair and does nothing to encourage more people to take up refereeing," he said.

"To suggest that there was any kind of agenda behind the decisions made on the day does a massive disservice to the game and, quite frankly, is completely unfair."

Had Rangers drawn or lost to United, Celtic would have become favourites to retain the Scottish Premier League title.


see also
Rangers 3-1 Dundee Utd
10 May 08 |  Scottish Premier


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