Jags boss Jackie blows the whistle on ‘blunder’ ref

Partick thistle v raith rovers'photo emma mitchell'16/12/11'Kris Doolan
Partick thistle v raith rovers'photo emma mitchell'16/12/11'Kris Doolan

PARTICK Thistle manager Jackie McNamara has called on referee Mike Timulty to publicly accept responsibility for the blunder that cost his team against Raith.

The first official took centre stage on Saturday when he overturned his assistant’s flag to allow a suspect goal from Raith Rovers.

Initially the linesman flagged for handball in the box, however, Timulty exercised his right to reverse the call, leaving Thistle to pick up the pieces.

Raith went on to win 1-0 and goalscorer John Baird later admitted that the ball likely struck his elbow en route to goal.

Yet as McNamara, above, was sent to the stand for an over-zealous protest, he insists he is not the only man who needs to explain himself.

The Jags boss questioned the accountability of match officials and called for decision makers to face up to their errors in public.

He said: “For me it was a clear handball and I think the reaction of my players, who immediately claimed handball, says a lot.

“The assistant referee and most people in the ground saw it as handball but the referee has seen it differently. I think he maybe knows that he has made a mistake.

“I think it would be better all round if Timulty turned around, put his hand up and said ‘I was wrong’.

“Of course, you can’t even ask the referee about his decision — that’s the sad part of our game. I have been sent to the stand because of this and I’ll now likely face a ban of my own.

“But I then have to go to speak to the media, justify myself to the supporters and face up to my mistakes, so I don’t know why officials don’t have to do the same.”

The Partick backroom staff remain somewhat aggrieved with last weekend’s result, however, McNamara insists their focus must switch to their Boxing Day clash with Queen of the South.

He said: “I think everyone was just plain angry about how the day panned out for us. We were all let down by the decision but we have to move on.

“Things like this infuriate you and infuriate the players but that’s football and you just have to hope that these things even themselves throughout the season.

“The Queens games have been very tight so far this season and I expect it to be much of the same this Monday.

“I felt we were in charge for most of the Raith game but failed to break them down and get behind them on enough occasions.

“If we are to get anything from Queen of the South then we will need to find that wee bit extra in front of goal.

“There are some sides in this league that sit back and don’t come out and play — but we’re not one of them. We want to play football and entertain, but most importantly we want to win.”

Meanwhile, it appears as though Partick will not retain the services of Conrad Balatoni for the second half of the season.

At present, the young defender is scheduled to return to Hearts on January 1 while discussions for an extension seem to have cooled.

And although Monday’s clash with Queens will be Balatoni’s final game in his second spell at Firhill, McNamara hinted it may not be his last in Thistle colours.

He said: “As it stands, Conrad will be going back through to Hearts and this will be his last game.

“We are still waiting to see whether any extensions can be worked out but Hearts may end up needing him at Tynecastle.

“But we are aware that his contract is up at the end of the season, so that’s something we may turn to in the end.”

The Boxing Day clash against Queen of the South is scheduled for a standard 3pm kick off.

KRIS CROSS . . . Kris Doolan can’t find a way through in Saturday’s frustrating match . (Ref: M12231a)