THE SPOTLIGHT is once again shining on Raith Rovers’ disciplinary record after Dougie Hill’s red card against Hamilton on Saturday.
The defender’s 83rd minute dismissal for a two-footed challenge was the third time he has been sent off this season, and the fifth time the team has lost a man.
It proved costly as the 10 men went on to concede two late goals, but club captain Allan Walker, who was also red carded earlier in the campaign, sympathised with his team mate.
“Dougie’s won the ball, but in this day and age once you leave the ground, it becomes a tough one for the referee,” he told the Press.
“Dougie’s an aggressive player and he wants to go and win balls.
“It’s just a shame that even though he has won the ball he’s got a red card.”
Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany was red carded for a similar challenge during a recent English Premier League match at Arsenal.
That decision was later over-turned by appeal, and Walker admits that players are still unsure over what challenges constitute a red card.
“It’s a grey area and no-one seems to know what’s a bad tackle, and what’s a hard tackle,” he said.
“Look at our manager. I’ve played with him for three years here and he would throw his body into everything, taking man and ball.
“You’re out there to put your body on the line to keep each other in jobs but sometimes when you’re doing that you’re getting red cards.
“The way the game is going, I think slide tackling will be banned soon. The game isn’t what it used to be.”
While Hill’s red card may have split opinion, manager Grant Murray accepted the referee George Salmond’s decision.
“The manager thought it was a sending off, and Dougie has put his hands up,” Walker revealed.
“He feels he’s let the team down, but he’ll be back and we’ll all get right behind him.”
Walker also took some responsiblity for Saturday’s defeat after seeing a penalty kick saved while the match was still 0-0.
“The goalie has went early and made a good save,” he said.
“I was confident enough taking it - I scored my last one - so it was disappointing to miss.
“The rule we have in here is that if you miss one, you’re off them so Pat or Spencey will be fighting it out now.”
Walker also admitted that the first half performance was not good enough.
“We got a bit of going over from the manager and assistant at half-time - and rightly so,” he said.
“I thought it was our poorest first half performance of the season, especially at home where we’ve got good form.
“We were the better team in the second half - then the red card changed the game.
“That’s football and we have to bounce back from that.”
Rovers are now facing two big games in a week with a trip to league leaders Morton followed by the Scottish Cup tie against Celtic.
“Celtic is a game to look forward to but the league is our bread and butter and we need to get points on the board,” he said.
“Morton have a good pitch to go and play on, and they are top of the league just now so if we can’t get up for that game then there’s something wrong.
“We’ll all be wanting a jersey for the Celtic game so we’ll be looking to come away with something.”