“He got two massive decisions in a derby wrong” – Hopkin unimpressed by referee in derby defeat

Referee Don Robertson came under criticism from Ayr United boss David Hopkin after The Honest Men were beaten in the Ayrshire Derby. Seán McGill reports.

(Photo Credit – SNS Group)

Ayr United manager David Hopkin was left disappointed as his side lost 2-0 to Ayrshire rivals Kilmarnock on Monday night, but felt referee Don Robertson pointed to the penalty spot on the wrong occasion. 

“The referee got two massive decisions in the game wrong. First half was a stonewall penalty for us. He climbed all over a player in the box – it is a penalty all day long. These are decisions the referee got wrong. These are the things that change games. I just think – tonight – having fans in influenced him.

“The whole complexion of the game changes because if we had gone in ahead at the interval, their fans wouldn’t have been happy. The referee has to look at it and know that he got two massive decisions in a derby wrong.

“Their penalty, it hits him on the chest. You can hear it. I am not taking away from the result but they have to do better.” 

The loss leaves The Honest Men bottom of the Championship table, though Hopkin insists there were positives to take from the derby defeat. 

“I think people can see what Daire O’Connor is going to bring to us, and Jonathan Afolabi when he gets fit. He’ll give us something different. He’s a handful. James Maxwell did well when he came on. We will get them all up to speed and get ready to go because there was a lot of positives.

“For the players it’s disappointing. I’m disappointed and I’m sure everyone at Ayr United is disappointed. If Kilmarnock are favourites for this league, then we’re not far behind them.” 

Arbroath head to Somerset Park for Ayr’s next league outing on Saturday, with Hopkin expecting a stern contest from Dick Campbell’s men. 

“We know it’s going to be tough. They’ve done really well over the past two seasons in the Championship, but we’re at home and I’ve got options where I can start to change things now.”

Hopkin addressed the Ayr fans following Monday’s defeat, hopeful that supporters will focus on the positives after their opening game of the Championship season. 

“I hope Ayr fans can see that tonight we’ve brought new players in. It’s a new team and we’ve had to gel a few players in. I’m just making sure that Ayr fans will see a team that’s going to give us everything and I can’t fault their effort tonight. I can’t fault any of their commitment.” 

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