Peterhead manager Jim McInally has hit out at the Scottish FA after receiving an underwhelming response to a request for clarification on handball rules.
The Blue Toon contacted the association’s refereeing department earlier this week after referee Steven Reid failed to award a penalty during last Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup.
During the game at Stark’s Park Raith defender Kyle Benedictus blocked Ben Armour’s goalbound effort with his arm, but no spot-kick was given.
In response to Peterhead’s request they were told that because the ball appeared to have brushed Benedictus’ side prior to hitting his arm a penalty could not be awarded.
However, that left McInally nonplussed because he believes even though the handball may have been accidental a penalty should have been awarded as a goal was prevented.
Scotland’s longest-serving manager said: “It’s a typical response that they are always going to protect the decisions of the referee.
“We asked for clarification and I don’t think it clarifies anything.
“The response they’ve sent does not apply to the incident that happened.
“They are trying to clarify rules on handball, but they’ve not given us any answers on the incident.
“The ball was going in the net and that was clear at the time and is clear in the match footage.
“And if the defender stops the ball going in the net with his hand it should be a penalty – but that hasn’t been clarified. They have gone into a defensive mode.
“I do think if it happened in a high-profile Premiership game involving a top referee, what seems to happen is the referee phones up managers to apologise for their errors.
“That doesn’t seem to happen at our level – and it’s certainly never happened to me.
“He’s a younger referee and if he’s watched the footage he’ll see the handball is a blatant penalty – and so is the incident before it where the goalkeeper (Ross Munro) brings down Ben Armour.
“If he’s seen that then it wouldn’t take much to send a message to the club and apologise for a mistake.
“If they do it at a higher level why shouldn’t they do it at our level?”
McInally added: “To be fair, John Fleming (the Scottish FA’s head of referees) sadly died last month and hasn’t been replaced yet.
“There might be someone in his position on a temporary basis and they might not be able to give us the answer we wanted. I take that into consideration.”
The SFA declined to comment.