Hearts manager Robbie Neilson slammed the performance of referee Don Robertson after seeing his side lose 3-1 to Dundee at Dens Park.
The Jambos boss was furious at the referee’s decision not to send off Dark Blues midfielder Shaun Byrne for a tackle on Steven Naismith in the opening minutes and questioned the awarding of a late penalty to the home side.
With time ticking away, Robertson pointed to the spot after Christophe Berra bundled over Dundee defender Lee Ashcroft in the area. Jonathan Afolabi made no mistake from the spot, consigning Hearts to their second league defeat of the season.
And Neilson insists there’s a pattern between Saturday’s defeat and their November loss at Dunfermline.
“It’s Don Robertson,” said Neilson.
“We’ve lost two games this season and twice Don Robertson was refereeing. It’s a common theme. I’m hoping we don’t see much of him again this season.”
On the penalty decision, Neilson said: “I’ve no idea what he sees. He booked Christophe but Christophe said he wasn’t pulling [Lee Ashcroft].
“I’ve looked at the video – I don’t see it. You’d need to ask him.”
The Tynecastle boss also felt his side should have been playing against 10 men from the second minute after Byrne “smashed” Naismith in the middle of the park.
The Dens midfielder picked up a yellow card but Neilson insists that wasn’t enough.
He said: “It was a red card, let’s be honest. The boy was out of control, he’s smashed Naisy, but again it’s Don Robertson we’re talking about. It could have gone either way.”
‘We probably should have won the game’
Despite falling to defeat, Neilson insists his Hearts side should have come away from Dens Park with all three points.
But he accepts Hearts were second best in the opening period as Dundee raced into a 2-0 lead at the break through Jordan McGhee and Danny Mullen goals.
“We didn’t start the game anywhere near well enough,” Neilson said.
“You know shooting up the hill with the way the pitch was it’s just going to be long balls, knockdowns and fighting for it. We didn’t get a foothold in the game at all until the second half.
“We started to control the game a bit more. On the balance of chances, we probably should have won the game even though we got beat.”
He added: “We know teams will up their game by 30, 40 or 50% when they play us.
“We have to match that and we didn’t match it in the first half.
“We matched it in the second half and when we do that, nine times out of 10 we will win.”