We’re delighted to welcome former Premier League referee Keith Hackett as our exclusive Rangers columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Ibrox…
Keith Hackett was baffled by Euan Anderson’s body language over one of the penalty incidents in Rangers’ 1-1 draw against St Johnstone on Wednesday.
It was an odd game for Anderson, who ruled out an earlier penalty he had awarded for the Saints at McDiarmid Park before he handed the home side a soft spot-kick to level the game in stoppage time.
There was also an incident in the second half which saw the ball strike Jack Simpson’s arm inside the penalty box.
While Hackett agrees with Anderson’s decision to not award a penalty as it wasn’t a deliberate handball by Simpson, he cannot understand the referee’s misleading body language.
Speaking to Ibrox News, Hackett said: “It’s not a penalty kick. I’m quite clear that the player is attempting to withdraw his arm.
“It’s within almost a natural position, he’s pulling away so it’s not a deliberate handball. Therefore, for me, the referee’s got the decision right.
“He was in a good position but I just think his movement, as a referee, didn’t help.
“I don’t know why he started moving towards the penalty area. If you’re not going to give a penalty, don’t move towards the penalty area, traverse back from it.
“That movement towards the penalty area is putting doubt in a fan’s mind and a player’s mind.
“If you watch, he’s looking and then he sort of traverses back, then he suddenly starts going forward.
“Why? He’s seen it, he’s made a correct call, now move out of it, move away, don’t move towards the incident because that’s sort of an indication he’s going to give it.”
Anderson got the call right, that’s the main thing.
He also got it right the first time to cancel St Johnstone’s penalty.
However, the penalty he did award was a soft one. If it was the other way around, we would have wanted it but really, it’s one of those that you see given and you see waved away.
It was in a grey area but there was nothing grey about the Simpson handball incident.
We can’t explain why Anderson rushed towards the box. It did give us a bit of a heart-in-mouth moment when he moved that way and we’d completely forgotten about it until Hackett brought it up.
Luckily, the right call was made in the end.
In other Rangers news, this BBC pundit couldn’t believe what he saw in an “outrageous” moment versus Celtic.