‘Decisions cost us’

GARY Hamilton was ‘disappointed’ that refereeing decisions cost his Glenavon side at least a point at Solitude on Saturday.

There were question-marks over both of Cliftonville’s goals whilst Jordan Dane also appeared hard done by to be shown a red card on his debut.

Eddie McCallion, however, could well have been shown a red.

Hamilton argues that it was his team that came off worse with Andy Coleman possibly fouled for Cliftonville’s equaliser and Kyle Neill penalised for the deciding penalty-kick whilst Guy Bates had earlier been denied a spot kick.

“We worked hard at it all week and it all went to plan except for somebody else ruining it for us,” said the displeased Glenavon gaffer.

“It’s disappointing to work so hard and get everything right and come away with nothing.

“It was very disappointing after working so hard and putting in so much effort. We had so many players out and the guys who came in did very well. It’s disappointing that they didn’t get where they deserved.

“I’m not saying that we deserved to win the game but we certainly didn’t deserve to lose it. We asked the boys to play a different formation in a 5-4-1 because we were expecting to have a couple of the injured guys back but they didn’t make it. We worked hard at it all week.

“The penalty at the end was one of those ones that if I was in Cliftonville’s situation I would have wanted a penalty. It hit his hand in the box but then probably from a biased point of view, Kyle jumped to try and win the header and his hands went up from his elevation. The header hit the back of his hand when he wasn’t even looking at the ball.

“From our point of view it’s a bit harsh, but if the shoe was on the other foot, you’d want it given.

“But then if you give something like that, you have to give the one in the first half. It was a blatant penalty and everyone in the ground saw that it was a penalty. Everybody involved with Cliftonville, the directors, manager and players all said after the game it was a penalty.

“There was also maybe a foul on the goalkeeper for their first goal. Don’t get me wrong, the referee did let us away with a few fouls in the second half when we could have had another player sent off but the decisions have cost us where they haven’t cost Cliftonville any goals.”

One foul that Glenavon didn’t get away with was Jordan Dane’s second booking. The debutant was unfortunate to be dismissed but Hamilton concedes it made up for Glenavon’s earlier escape.

He said: “At the time, I thought it was a second yellow for him but when I look back at it now, Boyce pulls him back so it should have been a foul to Jordan first. At the end of the day, we should have had a player sent off anyway, although it shouldn’t have been Jordan.

“It’s more the big decisions that cost us at least a point that are getting to me, the players and the fans now.”

However, the boss did leave the game with a positive attitude regarding his team’s display and is optimistic for the season ahead.

“There were more positives to take from the game than there were negatives,” he concluded.

“If we keep on showing that work-rate, we’ll do OK. Throughout pre-season, we’ve seen that the boys’ attitudes are good and that’s a big part of it in Irish League football.

“Hopefully we’ve cracked that now and the quality of the players we’ve brought in will add to it.”