Malky Mackay slams “inexplicable” decision not to send James Sands off in early stages of Ross County’s defeat to Rangers


Ross County manager Malky Mackay is adamant James Sands should have been sent off during the early stages of their 4-0 defeat to Rangers.

With the scoreline locked at 0-0, defender Sands, who was already on a booking, avoided being penalised despite blatantly appearing to bundle Staggies striker Jordy Hiwula to the ground.

Hiwula was clean through on goal, with Sands the last line of defence at the time.

Mackay was critical of referee Don Robertson’s lack of action, which he says could have had a big bearing on the eventual scoreline.

He said: “Sands pulls down Jordy with two arms around his waist, and he has already been booked.

“It’s inexplicable how it’s not a straight red – never mind a booking which would have taken him off as well.

“Rangers took him off at half-time, so it’s quite clear what they think about it.

Malky Mackay protests to fourth official Alan Muir during Ross County’s 4-0 loss to Rangers.

“I don’t think anybody who sees that on television will think that’s anything other than a straight red.

“The dynamics of games change. I’m not saying what it would end up, or what it might be.

“I look at Aberdeen and Livingston who were 0-0 after 40 minutes. A man was sent off and it’s 5-0 to Aberdeen.

“It was very straightforward – there were two men in that half and nobody else. There’s no need for Jordy to go down as he has rolled him and he’s away.

“We are disappointed with that. You need the correct decisions to go your way at Ibrox if they are on it, which they were.”

County were missing two players due to suspension, with Jack Baldwin and Ross Callachan having been retrospectively red carded following last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Kilmarnock.

Mackay says that made Robertson’s error harder to swallow, insisting the Scottish FA’s disciplinary process must be more thorough.

He added: “It makes it even more sore the fact we have just had two players cited and retrospectively sent off by the Scottish FA during the week.

“For those retrospective ones, the process has to be better than it is. There needs to be someone who actually watches the 90 minutes of six games at the weekend – not whatever happens on Sportscene on Saturday night and somebody flags it up.

“There was one with five minutes to go in the same game, which they never saw, that should have been a sending off.

“This one is not something that can be retrospectively done, although I don’t care about that. It’s not something for me either.”

County had shown early signs of promise in the match, prior to Rangers breakthrough midway through the first half.
John Lundstram opens the scoring for Rangers against Ross County.

Mackay added: “I thought in the first 15 minutes we were doing fine – we had a couple of good chances down the left hand side.

“We were playing against a very good team – a Champions League team who gave us the credit of playing a very strong team. I suppose that shows the level of how they take us.

“If they go down to 10 men, things can change.”

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[Malky Mackay slams “inexplicable” decision not to send James Sands off in early stages of Ross County’s defeat to Rangers]



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