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Gary Hamilton slams referee meeting delay as Glenavon chief demands face-to-face talks after Irish Cup exit


Gary Hamilton wants a showdown with referee bosses

Gary Hamilton wants a showdown with referee bosses

©INPHO/Matt Mackey

Gary Hamilton wants a showdown with referee bosses

Gary Hamilton has challenged refereeing chiefs to keep their word and give him the face-to-face meeting he was promised over a year ago.

The Glenavon manager was irate following a performance from match officials that he branded “a disgrace” as the Lurgan Blues were sent crashing out of the Irish Cup by Crusaders on Friday night, with the 2019 winners triumphing 4-0 at Mourneview Park.

Three key calls were highlighted by Hamilton. He felt a challenge on Paddy Burns by Crues defender Billy Joe Burns should have resulted in a red card — referee Tim Marshall didn’t even deem it a foul.

Television replays showed that the decision to wipe off a Glenavon equaliser early in the second half was incorrect, with scorer Matthew Snoddy onside when Conor McCloskey crossed the ball.

Hamilton had his doubts over the call to chalk off a second goal minutes later when Andy Waterworth netted after a ricochet off two Crusaders players, but he was adamant that Glenavon should have had a penalty for handball against Josh Robinson — and again TV pictures showed he certainly had a case — seconds before the Crues struck their fourth goal 11 minutes from time.

Glenavon had raised concerns over a number of refereeing decisions and were offered a virtual meeting, but now Hamilton wants to bring more issues to the table in a face-to-face discussion.

“We asked to have it face-to-face because anyone can hide behind a video. Anyone can sit beside a video and talk,” said the angry Glenavon boss.

“Why not do face-to-face? The days of social distancing were gone and the meeting never happened.

“It’s alright saying that you are going to do something, but if you are going to do something, do it. Don’t say you are going to do something that you don’t do. You’d have a lot more respect for them if they just say, ‘We’re not doing it, we don’t care about you’.

“If I say something and make a guarantee to my players, I act on it and I do it. It’s certainly not good enough.”

Although Crusaders missed two great chances after Jordan Forsythe gave them the early lead, it could have been so different had Glenavon equalised, or even taken the lead, with one of those two disallowed strikes.

Hamilton added: “We came out for the second half, started like a house on fire, then we had a goal disallowed that wasn’t offside and then the second one — I’m not sure of the rules but I saw one on TV recently that was similar and if the defender hadn’t touched the ball, the player was offside.

“The Crusaders player touched the ball, Jonny Tuffey made a save and then the ball has gone into the net.

“I’m not saying the referee has got that one wrong, but if he was and that is the rule then it is nothing short of embarrassing because they should know the rules.

“We get told that many different things that we don’t have a clue, but they should know the rules and if that is wrong it is an absolute disgrace because that could be 2-1 to us.

“They go 3-0 up and we should have a stonewall penalty kick.”

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter, who saw two Paul Heatley goals in addition to a Ben Kennedy finish seal the deal, reflected: “We were magnificent on the night.

“Scored one goal, missed two sitters to be 3-0 up at half-time and the game would have been dead and buried. We didn’t miss any of our second-half chances to run out 4-0 winners and totally dominated the game.”

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