Salisbury's refereeing horror show 'the biggest shambles' Neilson has seen in football

Robbie Neilson
Robbie Neilson

In more than 20 years of professional football, Robbie Neilson admitted he was shocked by what he was seeing on Saturday.

Referee Graham Salisbury won't look fondly on his performance in the 2-2 draw between MK Dons and Scunthorpe at Glanford Park, and few of the 3,569 in attendance will want to either.

After missing as horror-challenge from Charlie Goode on Chuks Aneke - one Neilson described as one of the worst he's ever seen - he then went on to send off Neal Bishop on the stroke of half time, before the most bizarre incident of the game.

Despite being in the box, substitute Gboly Ariyibi was hauled to the ground, earning what he thought was a penalty kick. But Salisbury awarded a free kick, then changed his mind and gave the penalty. After conferring with his assistant though, he then reversed his decision again, awarding a free kick on the white line.

"I've been in football since 1995 and that's the biggest shambles I've ever seen in my life. If he changes his mind, I understand, but you can't change it back again. I've no idea what went on.

"He's a nice guy but this won't be on his highlights reel."

The challenge on Aneke though, on the half way line after 16 minutes, had Neilson boiling. Having last week described Aneke's lack of protection from referees as 'baffling', Neilson said he was astonished Goode's challenge wasn't made more of.

He said: "It was an absolute disgrace. They won't show it on TV, but it's one of the worst tackles I've ever seen. The referee told me he thought the lad played the ball but it doesn't matter - two footed at pace, through the back of the opponent it's a red card. It set the tone for the whole game.

"It should have been stamped out early in the game by the referee. It doesn't matter if it's five minutes in, 10 minutes in or 95 minutes in.

"Chuks brings so much quality in, and he's so important for us. But if I was playing against him and I knew the referee wouldn't be protecting him, I'd tell my players to go out and smash him."