EDINBURGH coach Richard Cockerill accepted that Glasgow had just about deserved to defeat his team last night, but poured scorn on the notion that it was a game which merited five yellow cards.

The visitors had Bill Mata, Stuart McInally and Nic Groom all sin-binned in their 20-16 loss to the Warriors, and Cockerill cast doubt on all three decisions by referee Ben Blain.

Mata was binned for what the official described as cynical play, McInally saw yellow for a high tackle on Fraser Brown, who was already falling, and Groom also seemed to put in a high tackle on Ali Price – although Cockerill said he could not fathom why the substitute scrum-half also fell foul of the referee.

“It was one of the nicest games physically I’ve been involved in around derby games,” Cockerill said. “I’m not sure what Bill Mata went to the bin for – we were winning the penalty count quite comfortably at that point, but he seemed to go to the bin very quickly.

“Stu McInally’s was probably a penalty only – it’s a rugby incident all day long. You want to look after player safety but I’m not sure what Stu’s meant to do there apart from not get involved, so it’s a tough one. And I’m not sure what happened with Nic Groom.”

Having made his point on the discipline front, Cockerill accepted the home side had had the better of the match.

“It was a fiercely contested game,” he said. “It could have gone either way and they’ve probably done just enough to edge the game.

“The scoreboard suggests it, doesn’t it? It was a very tight, niggly game. I’m going to have to watch it again to see all the detail of what went on. A lot of yellow cards, a lot of penalties, and we got the wrong end of the yellow-card count, so frustrating.

“We had the line-out at the end and got the penalty to put them under pressure, but we’ve got no nine and that affects you from Nic Groom’s yellow card. We were in it to the death and we weren’t quite good enough to get over the line to win the game. So we take the point.

“We’ve come a long way from two-and-a-half years ago. From the reaction of the crowd it was like a cup final to them. We’re heading in the right direction. We’ll dust ourselves off, come back next Saturday and have another crack at it.”

McInally insisted that if he had made contact with Brown’s head in the incident which saw him binned, it was accidental. And, like his coach, he acknowledged that the Warriors had deserved to end up on top.

“We’re massively disappointed with that,” the Scotland captain said. “We put everything into that game, I thought. The attitude of the boys was excellent. I thought it was two good teams going at it, there was a lot of big collisions and everything we expect from them they brought.

“We had a chance to win it at the end and lost the ball. It was a tough match. They just got the better of us today.”