Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes felt a sense of injustice after two decisions from referee Bobby Madden, including the sending off of Lewis Ferguson, in the 1-1 Premiership draw with St Mirren in Paisley.
The gaffer was earlier angered by a penalty awarded against the Dons for handball by Tommie Hoban, despite the defender being less than a yard from Jon Obika when he shot.
Aberdeen gaffer McInnes also expressed disappointment that Ferguson was dismissed early in the second half for a second yellow after a collision with Obika inside the St Mirren half.
However, McInnes praised the spirit and fight of 10-man Aberdeen for securing a point – characteristics he said were missing when losing 2-1 in the Betfred Cup to St Mirren just seven days earlier.
McInnes said: “There was great spirit from the team as we had to dig deep and battle manfully for our point.
“I questioned that last week, that there wasn’t enough spirit or desire in the first half.
“There was plenty on show this time as it was all hands to the pump when we were down to 10 men for most of the second half.”
The first contentious incident was late in the first half when an Obika shot hit Hoban’s hand from close range.
McInnes said: “We felt a real injustice with the penalty and should have gone in 1-0 up at half-time.
“I know referees are under pressure with the new rules and I spoke with Bobby at half-time.
“Having seen it again, what is Tommie supposed to do there?
“Tommie is half a yard away from the incident.
“The biggest thing we are always told at referees’ meetings on handball, the biggest factor is distance. They show instances and examples of handball and how they come to decisions.
“But one of the biggest criteria is distance and that is normally taken into consideration before a referee gives a penalty-kick.
“That wasn’t the case this time.”
The second controversial decision from Madden came early in the second half when Ferguson received a second booking.
The midfielder had been booked in the fifth minute for a late challenge on Jamie McGrath.
For his second yellow, Aberdeen midfielder Ferguson collided with St Mirren attacker Obika, with Obika’s arm appearing to catch Ferguson across the face, leaving McInnes unhappy with the resultant yellow card.
McInnes was then booked himself for remonstrating with Madden following Ferguson’s dismissal.
The midfielder missed the previous three games as he had been self-isolating along with Ross McCrorie and Connor McLennan following a Covid-19 outbreak in the Scotland Under-21 camp.
McInnes said: “It was harsh on Lewis. For the sending off Ferguson has two challenges in the game.
“He was fobbed off into his face in the challenge and it looks clumsy. But there needs to be understanding. It was not a yellow card offence.
“We asked for that competitiveness and he clattered into him in the fourth minute. I thought that was a yellow card, even though it was early in the game.
“But Fergie has had yellow cards early in a game before, but has always managed the game well.”