Mar 30 2011 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
PAUL MARTIN has launched a fresh attack on the standard of officiating in the lower leagues.
The Albion Rovers gaffer has hit out after his side’s 1-1 draw with Elgin City at Borough Briggs on Saturday.
Third Division title hopefuls Rovers finished a controversial game with 10 men after referee Kevin Clancy sent off Stevie Canning.
Martin was furious with the whistler after he cautioned the midfielder for catching the ball as it sailed out of play.
Canning’s second caution was for coming back onto the pitch without the referee’s permission after receiving treatment for a foot injury following a shocking tackle from Elgin sub Craig Frizzel.
Martin was already on the warpath regarding the standard of refereeing after the derby day draw with Clyde.
And the 46-year-old believes his side deserve credit for putting up with poor calls then said he feels “let down” with the lack of even-handedness from officials.
“The story for me is how we handled the situation mentally and the players deserve praise,” he told Advertiser Sport.
“Albion Rovers teams of the past would have gone to pot with what happened to us on Saturday.
“But we showed great spirit in the face of adversity and could have gone on to win the game.
“I just want even-handedness and I don’t think we are being treated the same as other teams at this moment in time.
“It feels like we’re moaning all the time and some people say that is to cover up what the team’s doing. But the team is doing fine.We are playing well.
“I feel let down a little bit just now.”
Martin confessed to having some sympathy for refs but says they need to up their game.
“There’s apathy in the lower leagues with the referees,” he added. “I just don’t think they can get motivated for our matches.
“They are not bothered about Paul Martin or Albion Rovers.
“I have nothing against referees at all. I think it’s the most difficult job in football and I wouldn’t do it for all the tea in China.
“But they are being paid a lot more than my players to deliver a service to the league and I think they need to deliver a better service.
“We don’t jump up and down and contest every decision. But we get annoyed when major decisions go against us.”
Thomas Flynn and Canning have both suffered serious injuries as a result of poor tackles and Martin reckons enough is enough.
He said: “In the last two weeks, we have had players injured with challenges that have not been punished or been punished with only a yellow card.
“If the challenge by Frizzel on Canning had happened at a higher level, there would have been uproar.
“The tackle on Stevie was two-footed. Stevie managed to lift his foot, but if he hadn’t, it would have been horrific.
“This is where we are at. Reckless and dangerous challenges go unpunished but over-officiating means players are being sent off.
“We don’t condone his second red card on Saturday. That is a lack of discipline on his part.”
Martin, whose side host league leaders Arbroath this Saturday, confirmed the club will again be in contact with SFA referees’ boss John Fleming.
“I have spoken to John and he is very amenable and understanding,” he added.
“As a club, we are speaking as one in terms of the lack of even-handedness.”