Tony Docherty 'perplexed' by Hearts penalty reversal as Dundee boss claims VAR angle trickery

Ticked-off Tony Docherty blamed the VAR camera angles at Tynecastle for a defeat which leaves Dundee in danger of slipping out of the frame for a Euro spot.

The Dens outfit’s defeat to Hearts means they still trail St Mirren in the final Conference League slot by five points with two games to go. But Docherty felt his side might have claimed a precious result in the capital had referee Nick Walsh stood by his decision to award the Dark Blues a handball penalty just moments after the Jambos had taken the lead.

He was left angered, however, when VAR David Dickinson advised the whistler to take a second look at Stephen Kinglsey’s block on a Lyall Cameron strike, with the spot-kick ruling overturned. Doc said: “I was really pleased with the team performance and I don’t think it is a 3-0 game. We went toe-to-toe with them but I think we made two mistakes. To me the pivotal moment in the game was the decision not to give the penalty kick. I’m perplexed at that.

"If you look at the fixture at Dens back in February, there’s an identical situation where the ball strikes Lee Ashcroft on the hand and that penalty is given. That’s where the frustration comes. It is 1-0 and we have done very well, I’m pleased and I’m confident Luke McCowan goes and scores that penalty. Then it’s game on.

“It has been too many times when decisions have gone against us and the inconsistency frustrates not just me, but every football manager. I was right behind it and when he gave it, I thought it was a penalty kick. The arm is out. I don’t think the camera angles are clear from what I’ve seen. For such a pivotal decision in a game at 1-0 you need to be sure.”

Dundee travel to Ibrox on Tuesday to face Rangers before rounding off their campaign at home to Kilmarnock. And Docherty insists his side will fight to the end for their European dream. He added: "As long as we've still got an opportunity to do that, we'll do it.

"There's disappointment among the boys but I've tried to lift them. With the level of performance we got, the players should be leaving here with their chests puffed out.”