RAITH Rovers manager Grant Murray steered clear of controversy by refusing to comment on the referee’s performance after Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Dunfermline in a bad-tempered Fife derby at Stark’s Park.
Ref Crawford Allan was at the centre of the action, showing red cards to Raith pair Allan Walker and Dougie Hill, which left the home side to play the entire second half with nine men, and led to their first home defeat of the season.
Murray, who also banned his players from speaking to the media after the match, was questioned on Walker’s red card, which followed a wild challenge on Dunfermline striker Ryan Wallace two minutes before half-time.
The Raith boss had a good view of the incident, which happened straight in front of the dug-outs, and when asked if he feared the worst for his captain after the challenge was made, Murray simply replied: “Not at all.”
Hill’s sending off – a second yellow card – followed a half-time fracas near the tunnel involving several players and officials from both sides, with the Raith defender appearing to grab Dunfermline winger Josh Falkingham by the throat.
Pars midfielder Ryan Thomson was also booked for his part in the melee.
Asked if his team’s discipline let them down, Murray responded: “I don’t know what happened at half-time, so I can’t really answer that.”
Dunfermline manager Jim Jefferies suggested that the police had got involved in the flashpoint.
He said: “I think a policeman got involved. What I’m hearing is that if the referee hadn’t taken any action, the policeman said he would take it out of his hands.”
There was plenty action on the pitch as well as Pat Clarke headed Raith into a 24th minute lead before Stephen Husband drilled home a 25-yard free-kick 10 minutes later to equalise.
The red cards handed the Pars a huge second half advantage, and they made the extra men count just two minutes after the break, Joe Cardle curling home a superb strike, before Husband wrapped up the win with the visitors’ third goal, and his second, in the closing minutes.
Raith boss Murray added: “In a derby you need things to for you on the day, and a lot of things didn’t go for us. We’ve got to accept that and move on.
“It’s been a hard week, but the second half performance with nine men, and the effort they put in, was fantastic.”
Pars boss Jefferies was delighted to win the derby - and avoid any sending offs.
“They’ll complain about having two men sent off, but we never got involved in it,” he said.
“We warned the players at half-time not to make any rash or daft challenges or they might face the consequences because the ref might try to balance it up a bit.
“But credit to our players they never got involved in anything, they just kept passing it around and managed to get ourselves into a winning position.
“The only people that were sent off were Raith players so they’ve got to look at that – especially the one going up the tunnel at half-time.
“You cannot afford to do that. You’re letting your team mates down badly.
“I know it’s a derby and it’s passionate, but you’ve got to be above that.”