St Johnstone 3-0 Falkirk: Peter Houston to monitor penalty calls

Peter Houston
Peter Houston's Falkirk lost 3-0 at McDiarmid Park

Peter Houston will monitor refereeing decisions about pulling in the penalty area after his Falkirk side conceded three spot-kicks in 23 minutes.

St Johnstone converted two of those - both of which were awarded for grappling inside the box.

"I'll be watching very carefully," said Houston after the 3-0 League Cup loss.

"I was wondering, if it was St Johnstone playing Celtic or Rangers would the penalties have been given quite as easily?"

Danny Swanson was tripped in the Bairns box early on but Liam Craig's effort from 12 yards was saved by Falkirk goalkeeper Danny Rogers.

However, Swanson was successful in scoring the two penalties awarded for pulling.

"Paul Watson's might have been, I'd accept that," Houston told BBC Scotland. "The third one's an absolute joke.

"You see the ball get played into the box, Luke Leahy - you lift your arms to go for the ball - leans in.

"The fourth official's shouting stuff in the referee's ear as well so I don't know if he influenced the referee but it was never a penalty kick.

"I also looked at the incident where [Falkirk's] John Baird's looking to protect [the ball], Steven Anderson comes right through the back of him, doesn't get anywhere near the ball and John goes to ground. So, in my opinion, we should have had a penalty there as well."

'I see it every single game I watch'

Asked if he was aware of any new directives for officials to be more strict about jostling in the box Houston replied: "We've got to go to a meeting on 8 August where the central-based guys meet the referees.

"If there are new directives we should probably have been told by now.

"If they've got a directive about getting a hold of people then great because I've been saying for years too much of it goes on.

"But I see it every single game I watch on television in every league, people get a hold of each other and penalty kicks are not given.

"Bobby Madden, who I'll watch in particular, gave three penalty kicks, aided, I think, by the fourth official talking in his ear about 'watch this one, watch that one'. So it'll be interesting to see what happens."

But Houston said he had not tried to speak to Madden about the decisions to seek clarity on the awards.

"Absolute waste of time," he explained. "There's no point in me getting myself into trouble because nothing can change it.

"You'll get excuse after excuse and his opinion of it and I can't change his opinion. If he looks at the third penalty again or the John Baird incident, it'd be interesting to see what he thinks."

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