Stephen Robinson felt St Mirren were ‘done by decisions’ against Hearts

Morecambe v Wycombe Wanderers – Sky Bet League One – The Mazuma Stadium
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Stephen Robinson bemoaned a trio of decisions after his first game as St Mirren boss ended in a 2-0 cinch Premiership defeat by Hearts in Paisley.

The Northern Irishman watched as Saints midfielder Connor Ronan was shown a straight red card by referee Greg Aitken in the 23rd minute for a tackle on Beni Baningime before the home side had a penalty claim ignored when striker Alex Greive went tumbling in the box.

Robbie Neilson’s team eventually took advantage of the extra man as substitute Ellis Simms opened the scoring in the 64th minute before Cammy Devlin netted his first  goal for Hearts with a drive after Buddies keeper Jak Alnwick had been injured in saving from Simms.

It was St Mirren’s first defeat in nine and former Motherwell boss Robinson said: “The whole game was dictated by decisions today unfortunately. Nothing seems to have changed since I have been away.

“The second goal, Jack is adamant he has the ball in his hands. He is adamant he had the ball under full control. The big lad goes through, follows through and the ball ricochets free.

“I think everybody was surprised not to hear a whistle, including the fourth official, he told me.

“The penalty on Alex, again, for me it looked like a blatant penalty and the boy is on a yellow card.

“The red card in the first half changes the game completely, rightly or wrongly, I have yet to see the decision back but it didn’t look like there was too much malice in it.

“He didn’t know where the ball was as he turns into the player so that is a real debatable one but unfortunately we have been done by decisions today.

“I will look at the red card obviously to see if it is worth appealing against. In football you can control certain things, you can’t control referee’s decision making. It’s probably best I say no more.”

Unsurprisingly, a delighted Neilson took a different view of the key decisions.

He said: “The sending-off made a difference to the game but prior to that I thought we were playing well anyway.

“The ref got the key decisions right. We’ve seen the tackle on the TV and it’s a stonewall red card. It’s not malicious but the boy has gone over the top of the ball.

“For the penalty, the player jumps into the challenge and looked for it. I know Stephen will probably see it differently.

“For our second goal, you have to challenge for it. The keeper dives at his feet and they come together but I don’t see an issue with that.”

After three successive defeats in the league it was a welcome three points for the Jambos and Neilson noted the return of some key players.

He said: “The subs made a difference to us. We don’t have a big squad, we went with quality over quantity.

“Today, we had (Craig) Gordon, (Craig) Halkett, Beni Baningime and (Liam) Boyce back.

“That’s the spine of our team, really experienced players and our best performers this season.

“That allows us to have quality like Simms and (Josh) Ginnelly on the bench to come on. So I’m delighted with the whole group.”

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