Raith Rover 0, Dundee 3
Raith manager John McGlynn branded referee Lloyd Wilson’s performance as “an absolute disgrace” after Rovers’ perfect pre-season sequence was brought crashing to an end on Saturday at Stark’s Park.
McGlynn was banished from the dug-out as Raith went down 3-0 to Dundee in Group D of the BetFred Cup.
His 14th-minute dismissal followed over-vehement protests after Dundee’s first goal, which he felt should have been disallowed for a deliberate foul on recently-recruited defender Fernandy Mendy.
Rovers conceded a penalty around 10 minutes later to go two down, but McGlynn was further enraged when ref Wilson failed to award Raith a penalty in the second half.
Ross Matthews appeared to be pushed in the back after venturing into the box and McGlynn claimed the referee looked as if he was about to blow his whistle, then did not.
McGlynn said he accepted his punishment after giving the whistler “both barrels” and also agreed Dundee were the better team on the day.
But he claimed there were decisions, also involving the referee’s assistants, which consistently went against his side and resembled those which could cost managers their jobs.
“The first goal is important in every single football match and he has given them a goal of a start,” said McGlynn. “Fernandy (Merdy) was pushed deliberately in the back, which results in the first goal, which can cost you the game.
“We have a stonewall penalty in the second half and we don’t get it. We have lost two very, very cheap goals in the first half.”
The second goal came from a penalty after a high challenge judgement against Merdy. McGlynn said he was not certain it was dangerous play but agreed the defender should perhaps not have raised his foot so high.
“We have given away two cheap goals and that is key, that is absolutely the most important thing of all,” added McGlynn. “I’d concede Dundee were the better team. However, if these three officials had officiated at all the Dundee games last season, they would still be in the Premiership - because there was absolutely no way we were going to win today.
“It’s very painful - I am raging at the officials. They didn’t give our boys a chance. We got five booked to their (Dundee’s) none, which tells you a story.”
McGlynn said Raith had done well in patches, although he admitted Dundee’s second goal was “a killer”. He added: “But we had one or two wee half-chances that can change it when they come along.
“If we get the penalty and it goes to 2-1, we have kind of got a wee footing in the game – and then you never know. There is plenty of time to go.
“I am not denying the fact Dundee moved the ball quite well. They passed the ball quite well, their rotation in midfield was good and it was just a bit too good for us. But they were certainly also given the opportunity to do that.”
Both sides made an equally promising start but the advantage tilted Dundee’s way after 14 minutes when a ball played out from the Raith area was knocked forward again and Andrew Nelson slipped past Merdy to score from close range.
McGlynn insisted the Raith man had been fouled but ref Wilson didn’t like the way he expressed his opinion and showed the red card.
Regan Hendry was yellow-carded for a challenge as Nelson advanced once more on the Raith goal.
Joao Victoria made a couple of forward forays for Raith before the home side fell further behind in the 25th minute.
Mendy was penalised for a high challenge in the box, as two Dundee players went in, and Nelson firmly dispatched the spot kick home.
This cushion enabled Dundee to play more flowing, assured football, and Paul McGowan threw away a great chance for a third goal on 34 minutes, striking the post with a close-range shot with Munro already looking beaten after an unselfish pass from Nelson.
Mendy was yellow-carded later after a hefty challenge on Byrne following a Rovers corner kick.
Dundee began the second half with a touch more aggression although Raith began stabbing forward with some attacking moves, and Dundee had to have plenty of men behind the ball to block the home side’s advances.
Nelson blasted the chance of his hat-trick over the bar, shortly before Iain Davidson denied him another opportunity with a superbly-timed challenge.
In 63 minutes, Rovers believed Ross Matthews was the victim of another deliberate push as he travelled into the box but the penalty appeals were waved away.
Dundee finally put an end to Rovers’ hopes with a third goal in the 74th minute, when Byrne went through on goal. He looked as if he would score himself but squared the ball for sub Craig Curran to net with his first touch, just a couple of minutes after coming on.
Three more Rovers players were cautioned before the end – Davidson, Matthews and Spencer.
Afterwards, McGlynn said: “We can’t get too down about it - the season doesn’t just revolve around one game and we have an awful lot of football to play.
But we do have a very difficult tie away to Inverness, so we need to dust ourselves down and regroup, and get ready for Inverness.”
Raith Rovers – Munro, MacDonald, Davidson, Mendy, Hendry (Tait 82), Allan, Matthews, Victoria (Miller 72), Spencer, McKay, Bowie (Anderson 72). Subs (not used) – Benedictus, Watson, Smith.
Dundee – Hamilton, Kerr, McGhee, Ness, Meekings, Todd (Robertson), Byrne, Nelson (Cameron 78), McGowan, McDaid (Curran 72), Marshall. Subs (not used) – Ferrie, Foster, Mulligan, Cunningham.
Referee – Lloyd Wilson.
Attendance – 2584.