Hamilton boss calls for tennis style 'challenge system' in football

Sam Nicholson wins a penalty for Hearts
Sam Nicholson won a penalty for Hearts against Hamilton on Saturday

Martin Canning says football should consider introducing a challenge system like tennis to try to resolve issues around controversial penalty decisions.

The Hamilton Academical manager believes it would not only help officials but would prevent incorrect decisions proving costly for clubs.

"I know they do it in tennis, where you can challenge a decision," he said.

"Maybe it's a good idea and it would stop that if you could maybe have one challenge a half."

In Saturday's 3-1 defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle, there were three penalty claim incidents that may have benefitted from a system that could instantly review a decision.

The Accies managers believes the three decisions were wrong. A Shaun Want challenge on Hearts' Sam Nicholson led to a penalty being awarded to Hearts, from which they scored.

Tony Watt was booked for diving when he was tripped in the box by Want and Accies' Dougie Imrie had a claim for a penalty overlooked after going down in a challenge with Igor Rossi.

Could save clubs points

"It definitely wasn't a penalty, but the one previous with Tony Watt was a penalty, but I also think again, the one with Dougie Imrie, there was contact in the box, but it's another one that goes against us," said Canning.

"Hopefully, over the course of a season, they even themselves out.

"I don't know how you would go about putting that into football. It seems, for me, it's all very well for the referee to say 'sorry I got it wrong' and apologise, or get a phone call through the week saying I made a bad decision there.

"Could we not do something about it, in the moment, at the time, as opposed to waiting until through the week to get that apology?

"It could maybe save you points, especially now at our level and higher when there is so much at stake to go and stay in the league and compete and finish as high up the league as you can.

"Things like that can cost you points. So, if there is a way to stop that within a game, it would be good to explore."

Hamilton's Greg Docherty and Hearts' Arnaud Djoum
Hamilton's Greg Docherty and Hearts' Arnaud Djoum battle in the match at Tynecastle

At a time when the Scottish Professional Football League and the broadcasters are now installing additional cameras at games to enhance the coverage, the Accies boss says now may be the time to introduce such a measure.

Canning admits he finds it difficult to tell whether players are diving more now than in previous years.

"I don't know if it's that or if the game is quicker now," he said.

"The players are going at a speed, unless you've played the game, it's difficult to understand when you are going that quick how much contact can actually put you off balance and bring you down - it doesn't need a lot.

"You could maybe see that with Dougie Imrie's one on Saturday as well.

"If you and me are standing here and I gave you a wee nudge, you wouldn't fall over, but if we are at full speed and gave you the same nudge, you'd probably fall, not because you're diving, it's just because you're going at a speed and you're not in full control."

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