Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes referee Alan Newlands cost his side the chance of all three points at Kilmarnock last night as the Dons recovered from a disastrous start to earn a point in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
The Dons trailed 2-0 after 25 minutes at Rugby Park thanks to Eamonn Brophy’s penalty and a Greg Kiltie’s goal but goals from Niall McGinn and Connor McLennan ensured the Dons left Killie with a point for their efforts.
McInnes believe the official’s decision to award a penalty for handball by Ash Taylor was a crucial error.
He said: “I’m disappointed the referee gave a penalty and we then lost a poor second goal by backing off when we could have come forward.
“Ash has kept his arms tucked in and it seems to me the ball hit his back.
“There were too many yellow cards tonight and the game was spiralling out of control a bit. There was a competitive edge to it, but I’m annoyed we’ve only got one point and not three.”
Dons captain Joe Lewis ensured his side left Rugby Park with something to show for their efforts as he made several key saves to deny Killie a first home win against the Dons since Derek McInnes took charge.
The creditable fightback ensured a point for Aberdeen but they are now three points behind Motherwell after the Steelmen beat Ross County 4-1 at Fir Park but McInnes believes there are positives for his side from their trip to Ayrshire.
He said: “It says a lot about our resilience to come back from two goals down. At two goals down away from home, a lot of teams could go under in that position. But I always feel my team are competitive.
“We’re at the stage of the season now where, with 10 games to go, we obviously came here to win.
“At no stage were we looking to settle for a point. It’s wins we’re looking for – but it might end up a good point for us come the end of the season.”
Sam Cosgrove, the club’s leading scorer with 23 goals, missed the trip to Rugby Park due to a back injury, but the Dons boss hopes he will be available for Saturday’s home game against Hibernian.
He said: “Sam had a back spasm. He felt it towards the end of training on Monday. It became clear late on Tuesday that he wasn’t going to be able to travel or play.
“Rather than sitting on a coach for eight hours there and back, we felt it would be better to stay back in Aberdeen. We hope he’ll be back on Saturday.”