Ross County boss Malky MacKay blasts James Sands Rangers referee call as he insists he deserved STRAIGHT red card


MALKY MACKAY has blasted referee Don Robertson for not sending off James Sands at Ibrox this afternoon.

The Ross County boss insists the American escaped a red card after hauling Jordy Hiwula to the deck after just 17 minutes.


27.08.2022 Rangers v Ross County: James Sands tackles Jordy Hiwula and survivesCredit: Willie Vass
Malky MacKay during Rangers clash


Malky MacKay during Rangers clashCredit: Getty

Sands was already on a yellow card after picking up a soft booking just TWO minutes earlier following another challenge on the ex-England youth cap.

But the whistler deemed there to be nothing in the second incident as he waved play to continue.

And MacKay has now blasted Robertson for not sending the 22-year-old for an early shower in the first half.

Not only does the County gaffer believe he should have been sent packing, but he insists it should have been a STRAIGHT red for the challenge.

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Speaking on the incident after the match, he told Sportsound: “I think I have every right to be (frustrated).

“James Sands falls and puts his hands around him and falls with him and he should have been sent off – it’s a straight red.

“If it’s not a red then I don’t know how it’s not a second yellow because he had already been booked.

“Rangers go and take him off at half-time – it’s clear as day for me.

“I’m really disappointed with that, these decisions are huge.

“Aberdeen played Livingston today and it was 0-0. Livingston player gets sent off and it’s then 5-0 to Aberdeen.

“I’m not saying that was what was going to happen here, but it changes the concept of the game. I thought it was pretty clear, there wasn’t anyone blocking the views – it was one vs one with 40 yards behind them to the goal. There was nothing blocking anyone’s view.

“It’s one of those things, it’s frustrating.”

MacKay spoke this morning about a lack of consistency with refereeing decisions in Scotland.

And he’s now doubled down on his claim as he reckons not enough is being done to help improve the standard, as he admitted he’s looking forward to VAR being introduced.

He said: “Well inconsistency is only about if you’re going to cite things, and somebody actually needs to be watching all six Premiership matches each weekend and all 90 minutes of them. That’s not what happens at the moment.

“That’s the way it is and we’re going to get VAR coming in to hopefully change that, but that there today is clear as day.


The Dingwall boss revealed that Robertson admitted to him after the game he would call him if he realised he made a mistake in today’s fixture.

And when asked whether that was good enough from the whistler, he added: “Good enough, I don’t think that really comes into it.

“What we needed was the correct decision. He rolls him, he doesn’t touch him, he’s one vs one with the goalkeeper after just 17 minutes and it was nothing each.

“If he pulls him down and it’s a sending off then they’re down to 10 men and that changes the dynamics of the game.

“It’s always going to be tough here (at Ibrox) but we need big decisions like that to be done correctly.”

Giovanni van Bronckhorst believed it was a close call for the ref to make.

But he did admit the incident was caused by Rangers’ sloppy defending at the back.

He said: “You have to attack well and in the first half we did. But we gave a lot of space away at the back.

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“That’s why we had James Sands quickly on a booking. In the second we changed a bit and controlled a bit better.

“We already had James on a booking and it was a close call that went our way. Sometimes the call from the ref is against you and sometimes for your advantage and it’s the decision of the ref at the moment but for us it was a positive one because James didn’t get a second yellow.”

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