Scottish referee standards improving, says Hamilton's Martin Canning

Martin Canning speaking to referees
Martin Canning (far right) says he will "never put pressure on referees"

Hamilton Academical player-manager Martin Canning believes the standard of refereeing is improving, despite recent high-profile controversies.

Craig Thomson awarded Celtic a disputed penalty in their win over St Johnstone, whose boss Tommy Wright felt his side were denied two spot-kicks.

And Andrew Dallas mistakenly booked a Hearts player after two Motherwell players collided on Saturday.

"I think it's slightly improving," said Canning of refereeing standards.

"The game is speeding up as well which makes it a little bit more difficult.

"The referees work hard and they generally do a good job.

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Highlights: St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

"Everybody - including players - make mistakes in the game. Some of them are a little bit more obvious but it could take you watching it two or three times in slow-motion to see that it's a mistake that has been made. They are seeing it once in real-time.

"I know every referee will go on to the park wanting to do well, to come off knowing - like a player or a manager - that you have done a good job.

"I'm pretty sure when they make mistakes they are disappointed too.

"I'll never put pressure on referees or criticise because it is a hard job to do and they do it to the best of their ability. They don't set out to make mistakes."

Motherwell were unhappy with a red card shown to Carl McHugh in their 3-0 loss to Hearts.

The Fir Park club decided against lodging an appeal to challenge the dismissal, which took place before Hearts scored their opening goal.

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Highlights: Motherwell 0-3 Hearts

However, Well have written to the Scottish FA asking the head of referees John Fleming to clarify guidelines surrounding serious foul play.

In their previous game, Scott McDonald was sent off for a challenge on Rangers' Kenny Miller and Motherwell's appeal against McDonald's red was rejected.

"From a club's point of view, given a fairly broad set of criteria has been issued by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) when judging a challenge during the intensity of a match, it's now so open to individual interpretation by each match official it could and has lead to significant inconsistencies across games," Motherwell said in a statement.

"Everyone involved in football understands that, at times, clubs will be on the end of honest mistakes or incorrect calls, it is part and parcel of the game. In addition, it is also acknowledged and accepted that match officials do not set the laws of the game, only enforce them.

"In addition, the club has also asked for, and has been granted, time with the Scottish FA's Head of Referee Operations to go through with the playing squads some of the recent examples which have merited a red card and those that, for what look like identical offences, have only been issued with a caution to explain what, if any, differences there are and detail fully what IFAB advise when considering excessive force.

"Motherwell FC very much appreciates this time and look forward to that meeting in the coming weeks."

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