Hibs chief Ben Kensell ‘confronts’ SFA officials over Steven McLean’s refereeing display in Celtic defeat

Hibs chief executive Ben Kensell confronted SFA officials to get answers after a number of contentious refereeing decisions in the 3-1 loss to Celtic, it has been reported.

Lee Johnson‘s side lost lone striker Elie Youan to two yellow cards inside 24 minutes, the first for a fairly innocuous attempt to close down Carl Starfelt and the second following a tangle with Cameron Carter-Vickers for what the Hibs boss felt might have been a free-kick to his side. Referee Steven McLean awarded three penalties – including one with the assistance of VAR Gavin Duncan and one which was rescinded by the video official.

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Josh Campbell netted the first for Hibs after Starfelt was ruled to have pulled the shirt of Paul Hanlon, who was later penalised for pulling down Carter-Vickers to allow Jota to level. McLean also pointed to the spot when Liel Abada lost his footing before VAR intervened. Hibs remained defiant until Oh Hyeon-gyu headed Celtic in front in the 81st minute and Sead Haksabanovic curled home deep into stoppage time.

The Leith club is believed to be upset at McLean’s display on Saturday afternoon and the Edinburgh Evening News has reported Kensell was involved in a ‘heated exchange’ with officials following the clash.

Speaking following the game, Johnson said: “You have to point fingers at the referee’s performance. How on earth can it be a sending-off for Elie Youan?

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“I thought it was a foul against Elie; centre-half pulls and pushes him – Carter-Vickers is a strong lad – and by the time Elie connects with his head, and he does, he’s about 5ft 2ins. And he’s a big player. Elie has his back to goal, doesn’t know where Carter-Vickers is, and he’s been outmuscled. Maybe a foul, maybe not. It’s definitely not a yellow card.

“I think the referee made the call for the red card, from what he told me. He said it was a reckless challenge. It was hardly a reckless challenge. He’s got his back to goal, he’s pinned him early, and he’s off-balance. It was just a really poor performance. It bugs me. Clubs like Hibs need all teams to be on point. We were, but they weren’t.”


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