By Mike Slater

28th Dec, 2021 | 9:10am

Keith Hackett: Borna Barisic handball calls never a penalty kick for St Mirren v Rangers

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 has insisted that St Mirren were never going to get a penalty for their handbell calls against Rangers and Borna Barisic.

BBC Sportscene shared footage of the incident, as a deflected cross appeared to hit the unsuspecting Croatian on the hand.

Hackett admitted that he wouldn’t have given a penalty, as Barisic is pulling his hand away and not making a deliberate movement.

“I’m not giving a penalty kick,” he exclusively told Ibrox News.

“The action of the player is to keep the arm down to almost withdraw it so it doesn’t make his body shape larger.

“He’s trying to get out of the way – I’m not giving a penalty kick.”

Spot on.

This is the perfect explanation and exactly why St Mirren were never going to get a penalty at Ibrox on Boxing Day.

It always leads to the same complaints that the Bears get all the penalty calls but never any given against them in the Scottish Premiership.

Compare this one to ours against Dundee United a couple of weeks back though, where their defender nearly punched the ball clear, with Barisic’s hand not even leaving his side throughout.

Consistency is being shown in recent weeks and months by officials in the SPFL, and long may that continue as the season returns after this rescheduled winter break.

In other Rangers news, an official club partner has fired back at Tom English after his latest bitter jibe at the Bears