HEARTS boss Robbie Neilson believes referee Kevin Clancy was influenced by the Celtic crowd in dismissing two of his players in the 2-0 loss at Parkhead yesterday.

Alex Cochrane and Toby Sibbick had already been booked before they picked up second yellow cards late in the game as the Edinburgh team trailed to a 13th-minute effort from Kyogo Furuhashi.

The champions were searching for the killer second strike while the visitors, who didn’t have a shot on target all day, hoped for an opening at the other end.

SEEING RED…Alex Cochrane bowls over Callum McGregor before being banished.

Left-back Cochrane, who had earlier been cautioned for wrestling Josip Juranovic to the ground, was then booked again a minute from time after tripping Callum McGregor. He was immediately banished from proceedings.

Midfielder Sibbick had been yellow-carded for a wayward challenge on David Turnbull before he pushed over Liel Abada as the Israeli winger raced away from him.

Clancy once again reached for another yellow before flashing red. With nine men on the field, Giorgos Giakoumakis claimed the second goal in stoppage-time.

SEEING RED…Toby Sibbick pushes Liel Abada before being dismissed.

Nielson, speaking to BBC Sportsound, said: “Until the referee sends two of our players off, we’re still in the game and in a good position, but once that happens, it makes it very difficult.

“You hope that an experienced referee would recognise the situation. The first one, there’s no need for a second yellow card. It’s the linesman who makes the decision.

“The ball isn’t in an area where it’s causing problems, it’s not reckless, it’s not endangering a player.

“Sometimes, when the crowd roars you can jump on it and I think that is potentially what happened.”


About Author


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.

Loading ...