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BOOTED AND BOOKED: McNULTY MYSTIFIED

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HIBS striker Marc McNulty has admitted he is puzzled at his booking for being BOOTED in the back by Rangers keeper Allan McGregor.

The veteran No.1 was ordered off minutes from the end of his side’s 1-0 win at Ibrox yesterday following a crazy and unprovoked attack on his opponent.

McNulty was yellow-carded by referee Bobby Madden for his part in the flashpoint incident – although the Scotland international insisted he did nothing wrong.

The on-loan Reading frontman, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I was just being a bit of a nuisance and there was obviously a coming together between the two of us.

“I turned away and jogged on and the referee pulled it back. For me, the most surprising thing was that I was penalised in it all and given a booking.

“I do that every week, just standing in front of the keeper and making a nuisance of myself. All strikers do that to keepers.

“I never actually touched him or touched the ball. I said to the ref: ‘What have I actually done wrong?’

“The ref told me that I had stuck my leg out, but I didn’t. So, it was surprising that he ended up booking me for it.

“There was a wee bit of contact when he (McGregor) kicked out. But I didn’t moan about it or anything. You just get up and get on with it.

“I didn’t read too much into it at the time. But, obviously, the ref or the linesman have spotted it and decided to send him off.”

McNulty added: “There wasn’t any kind of niggle between us previously. He’s kicked the ball up the park, followed through with a kick – and only he’ll know whether he meant it or not.

“You would need to ask him whether he meant it. I just got up and got on with it at the time.”

The Easter Road outfit went down to a first-half strike from Jermain Defoe that brought their great run under new boss Paul Heckingbottom to a halt.

McGregor will now miss Rangers’ remaining games against Celtic and Kilmarnock.

He was also punished retrospectively when he clashed with Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson in February and was involved in another incident with Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer, but escaped punishment on that occasion.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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