A SPIRITED late fightback and a deserved equaliser from his captain Joe Shaughnessy with two minutes of regulation time remaining were not enough to send St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin home in a good mood last night.

His men, without a win in five cinch Premiership matches heading into the game against Hibernian at Easter Road yesterday, had looked to be heading for another defeat in Leith after conceding two second-half goals.

Yet, the Irishman was still fuming with the penalty that referee Kevin Clancy awarded the home team long after the end of a hugely entertaining 90 minutes; he felt the spot kick that Martin Boyle netted had denied the visitors’ their first league victory of the 2021/22 season. 

To most onlookers inside the stadium, it appeared as if St Mirren defender Matt Millar had pulled down Hibs centre half Ryan Porteous as he tried to get on the end of a Kyle Magennis corner. Not to Goodwin. He was adamant that Porteous had dived and Clancy had been fooled into making the wrong decision. 

"The big talking point for me is the penalty,” he said. “I hate moaning all the time, but I try to be honest and that's an extremely soft penalty. There is a bit of contact before the ball comes in, a little bit of grappling, but before Porteous goes to ground, Millar moves his arms out to the side to prove to the referee he's not touching him.
"Porteous has a habit of winning cheap free-kicks over the years. Some might say he was clever, but the referee needs to see what's going on and not give the penalty. There's a real frustration because I think we could have won the game today if that hadn't gone against us.
"There's too many big decisions and key moments in games that are costing us. We have had three goals disallowed in the last three games and a penalty given against us today. These decisions are costing us points.”

Ross - whose side would have moved two points clear of Rangers, who play Motherwell at Ibrox this afternoon, at the top of the Premiership table had they held on – had some sympathy for his opposite number.

“I would want it for my team,” he said. “All managers would claim for it. I’ll take it. When I watch it back, I can understand why it’s given. When you get that close to an opponent and you put arms around him, which I think Millar did, you give the referee a potential decision to make.

“However, it is not always the case that they’re given. Quite often they’re not and quite often they go the other way. It is something that is becoming more and more difficult for referees to get right But, yeah, I would claim for it and want it.”

The introduction of Scott Allan, who had nearly left for St Mirren in a swap deal for Jamie McGrath before the transfer window closed last month, at half-time changed the game for Hibs after a disappointing opening 45 minutes.

He picked out Paul McGinn with a pass which the Scotland defender volleyed beyond Jak Alnwick to cancel the opener that Eamonn Brophy had netted three minutes before half-time.

Ross insisted the former Celtic midfielder, who spent a lengthy spell out last season with a heart problem last season, has a future in the capital. 

“My opinion of Scott hasn't changed,” he said. “He wasn't someone we were pushing to get out the door. There was a potential opportunity for him and he wants to play, understandably. We've been doing well as a team, but he had a chance to affect the game today and he did it. It's great for him and also for me to have that potential quandary moving forward.”

Ross had no issues with the Hibs goal that Clancy disallowed when his side were trailing 1-0 early in the second-half. The match official ruled that Boyle had been in an offside position when Porteous had got on the end of a Kyle Magennis corner and headed in. 

“He (Boyle) was adamant he didn’t (get a touch), I thought he did,” he said. “I thought he did at the time and I thought he did when I watched it back. It is one of those. It is a split-second decision for Martin. If he didn’t get involved it goes straight in.

“What I would say, irrespective of that, is that Jak Alnwick would have a good case to say he was in his way as he tried to get to the header. No argument with the decision.”

Goodwin was pleased at the determination that St Mirren showed to salvage a point from the afternoon. “I knew they would react like that because we’ve got great spirit in the group,” he said. “It’s a really well worked goal and Joe Shaughnessy has no right to be there, but he’s got that will to win.”