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St Mirren and Hamilton bosses praise Israeli officials

St Mirren boss Danny Lennon and his Hamilton counterpart Billy Reid were pleased with the performance of Israeli referee Meir Levi in their scoreless Clydesdale Bank Premier League game. The most controversial moment was when Saints had a Simon Mensing own goal disallowed for an offside, but Lennon refused to criticise the match officials, who were drafted in to cover for striking Scottish referees.

Lennon said: "I thought over the piece they did all right, they handled the game well. They were confident, they were dominant in their decisions.

"We're just very thankful that they have come over and helped us out this week.

"I didn't speak to the referee but what we were hearing from Stuart Macaulay, the fourth official, is that it was offside.

"At the time I thought it was a perfectly good goal. But overall, taking that key moment out of it, I've got no qualms about picking a point up."

Lennon admits he warned his players to be on their best behaviour with foreign match officials taking charge of the game.

He added: "We didn't want any back-chat and we have one or two individuals who we would say aren't particularly gifted with their tackling abilities, so we told them to be careful within these situations.

"Our own referees seem to have a bit of a stronger mentality that way. But I thought the officials did fine.

"I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you if it weren't for the three gentlemen coming over and giving us a hand, so I'm not going to sit and say they were any different to our own referees. The same foul in Israel should be the same foul in Hamilton."

However, as far as Lennon is concerned, the wider issue of the pressures Scottish referees find themselves under has still to be addressed.

He said: "Maybe we've got to realise what kind of pressure the referees are under at this minute in time.

"My message is, I hope to see familiar faces back out at grounds next week and let's get on with it.

"What would put the whole thing to bed, in this modern day, is to introduce the technology.

"At least if they are uncertain, it's there for them to make the correct decision and then they won't be hit with any controversy whatsoever and their integrity is going to stay intact for those who are questioning it."

Reid also urged his players to be cautious ahead of the game but was so impressed by the referee he revealed plans to seek him out to congratulate him on his performance.

He said: "I said to the players before the game to be careful. Sometimes you get a bit of banter going with the Scottish referees and I wasn't sure how the guy would react to that.

"But I thought he did brilliantly. I'm going to try and catch him and say 'well done' to him because he was good.

"I thought the referee did well to be honest, I thought he handled the game really well. It was an easy game to referee but I hardly noticed him throughout the game so great credit to him. I thought he was smashing."

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