'He was outstanding' - Coll Donaldson lauds whistler Nick Walsh as he outlines what would improve player/referee relationships
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The centre-half lauded Category 1 whistler Nick Walsh for his performance in the middle on Monday night during the Bairns Scottish Cup quarter-final tie win over Ayr United – despite being cautioned during the match and being penalised in the box late on, resulting in a spot-kick for the Honest Men by Walsh.
Donaldson was shown a yellow card for catching Chris Maguire on the face innocuously with ten minutes to go, before going on to give away what looked to be a soft penalty moments later, tripping Frankie Musonda in the box.
"I said thanks for not giving me a second booking so I could play in the semi-final,” Donaldson joked speaking to the Falkirk Herald. “A few of the boys were saying after the game I got away with not getting booked for the penalty, and it was of course straight after I was just initially booked for a foul just before it happened.
“I honestly had no idea where (Chris) Maguire was and it wasn’t a deliberate elbow at all, I don’t even know why my hand was up in that position, but I caught him.
“It could have been the worst minute of my career because 30 seconds later I had given away the penalty in the box.
“To be fair to the referee, I thought he was really good on Monday night, and I know that they get a lot of bad press in this country.
“We are always delighted when they don’t have a good game so we can batter them but I thought Nick Walsh was outstanding on Monday.
“He was speaking to us all throughout the game and he talked through his decisions. Most of them aren’t interested in even having any sort of dialogue with you at all.
“It was really refreshing. We’ve had a couple of decisions this year sort of go against us and all you want as a player is to at least have them explain what they are thinking.
“The perfect example was the previous Tuesday night at Dunfermline after the first goal. At the time when they had given the goal, we are trying to ask why it has been given and how they came to that decision - but they just ignore you and it builds up so much frustration that could be avoided.
"If they explained why at the time then it wouldn’t be as annoying. Nick did that on Monday night and it left me with no complaints.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s League One outing at Palmerston against Queen of the South, Donaldson reckons the upcoming semi-final will be a boost to the Bairns squad going into the final nine matches.
He said: “Looking back at previous experiences, when I got to the semi-final before as a player with Inverness, the cup was a massive incentive for us and it brought about so much confidence to the squad.
“We bounced off that in the league and games were almost taking care of themselves. It can of course become a distraction, but we can’t let that happen. The manager won’t let that happen and we have already worked on Queen of the South all week.
“The league is still our priority. We have to do everything we can do to get out of this division.”