Referee admits blunder in ruling out Aberdeen goal

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The Independent Online

The referee Iain Brines has admitted he wrongly disallowed the goal that could have finished Celtic's title challenge.

Brines penalised Aberdeen's Zander Diamond for handball seconds before the defender fired the ball into the top corner of the net for what he thought was a last-gasp equaliser at Celtic Park on Saturday. Instead Celtic moved top of the Scottish Premier League with a 1-0 victory.

Television replays showed that Diamond had clearly won the ball with his head before collecting a return pass from Barry Nicholson. And Brines, in the "whistleblower" section of the Scottish Football Association's website, admitted he had got the decision "completely wrong".

"From the angle I had adopted, I observed the Aberdeen player Diamond jump to meet the ball and I believed he used his hand to aid the ball's flight beyond him," the referee explained.

"Immediately I blew my whistle awarding a free-kick to Celtic.

"The majority of players reacted to the whistle by stopping – the exception being Diamond who placed the ball into the Celtic goal. On reflection and having had the opportunity to view the incident via television, I fully accept that I called this incident completely wrong.

"Having adopted the position I did, it didn't allow me to gain the best view of what happened during the incident. It is clear that the goal should not have been disallowed."

Diamond was enraged by the decision on Saturday and criticised Brines for failing to discuss it.

"I thought he had a poor game throughout," the 22-year-old defender said. "Saying I used my hand is an absolute joke and that sums him up. If that's one of Scotland's top officials, I think we're in trouble.

"I asked about him about the decision and he told me to go away. That angers a lot of players; that you can't talk to referees. Especially him."

Meanwhile, the SPL club that qualifies for the Intertoto Cup competition will play Torshavn or Elfsborg when they enter the competition early in July.

Only Falkirk and Hibernian have told the SFA that they want to be considered for the one slot available. So one of them could be heading for the Faroe Islands or Sweden this summer.

Hibs are also involved in a struggle for third place in the SPL that would gain them access directly to the Uefa Cup.

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