BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
DUNFERMLINE skipper Andy Geggan insists Myles Hippolyte’s theatrics for Falkirk were akin to Alex Schalk’s highly-publicised dive against Celtic as another simulation storm hit Scottish football.
Hippolyte plunged to the turf under a challenge from Pars goalkeeper Sean Murdoch after 55 minutes, with referee Gavin Duncan causing uproar inside East End Park by awarding a penalty.
However, Aaron Muirhead blanked out the howls of derision to calmly slot his spot-kick beyond the seething Murdoch, cancelling out Nicky Clark’s first-half opener for the Fifers.
Wow!!! ?? pic.twitter.com/BADKWBT7qV
— Dunfermline Athletic (@officialdafc) April 22, 2017
Dunfermline’s sense of injustice was only heightened when Lewis Martin was sent off for denying John Baird a clear goalscoring opportunity, allowing Falkirk to profit from their numerical advantage when Nathan Austin nodded home to make it 2-1.
“I don’t know how he’s managed to con the ref, it’s a shocker,” fumed Geggan. “It’s like the one last week for Ross County against Celtic [Schalk]. This is right up there with that. Something needs to be done about it.
“We were speaking throughout the game and even Hippolyte told us it wasn’t a penalty.”
Asked whether Hippolyte should be banned retrospectively, as Schalk was, Geggan added: “I never like to see players punished, but if you had asked me right at the full-time whistle, I would have said yes. It’s just left me gutted.”
Murdoch himself tweeted: “Doesn’t matter how you play in games. When a penalty decision like that goes against you then you have no chance.”
But Austin, fresh from deciding an acrimonious derby clash with his fifth goal of the campaign, leapt to the defence of his teammate.
“I think it is harsh to call it a dive,” said the Falkirk striker. “My first thought was that it was a penalty – Myles is a quick boy and the lightest touch can bring you down. I don’t think Dunfermline have anything to be displeased about.”
Nevertheless, the contentious triumph sees Falkirk remain in second spot in the Championship and, after helping East Fife to the League 2 title last term, Austin is allowing himself to dream of a second successive promotion.
“Once you get a little taste for winning things, you just want more,” added Austin. “Going from League 2 to the Premiership in a year would definitely be special. That’s what dreams are made of.”