BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Seething Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs has savaged the officials and the playing surface following his side’s 1-0 defeat against Raith Rovers.
The capital club’s promotion bid is hanging by a thread after Harry Panayiotou’s second-half header condemned them to defeat.
Hibs will rue their own profligacy after dominating the first period, however Stubbs was similarly furious at the performance of the men in black, particular near-side assistant referee Graham Chambers.
Stubbs said: “There would be too many bleeps on the tape and asterisks in your quotes, for an honest opinion.
“For me they were not even decisions. The first one – the hand-ball – beggars belief I’m afraid to say.
“Given the importance of the game, officials really shouldn’t be getting them wrong. I’ve got to be careful what I say, but the linesman [Graham Chambers] didn’t have a very good night on my side.”
When Mr Chambers was alleged to have attempted to add some levity to the situation, Stubbs didn’t see the funny side.
He added: “We had a few decisions from the near-side linesman that didn’t come and he tried to laugh them off. That disappointed me as much as anything. It’s frustrating.”
Hinting at a difference of opinion between the officials, Stubbs said: “I felt sorry for the fourth official, Don Robertson . . . because he got everything right.” The Hibs boss declined to elaborate on that point.
He also took aim at the bumpy Stark’s Park surface, echoing recent complaints following Hibs’ 0-0 stalemate at Morton.
Stubbs continued: “We created some decent opportunities on a difficult pitch, the ball was bobbling up when players were setting themselves to shoot and it wasn’t a good pitch to play on because of that.
“The pitch is the same for both teams. It’s not an excuse but you could see how difficult it was.”
Despite the deficit, Stubbs is adamant Hibs can keep their promotion dream alive, declaring the tie ‘wide open’ ahead of Saturday’s second leg at Easter Road.
He said: “We go to Easter Road. We’ll be able to get the ball down and play more. The tie is wide open and it’s only half time. It’s become clearer what we have to do – score a couple of goals.”