BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Livingston manager Mark Burchil is adamant his side’s clash will St Mirren won’t descend into a grudge match – after revealing striker Danny Mullen apologised for the tackle which left Jordan Stewart in a protective boot.
Mullen was shown a straight red card in the closing stages of Livi’s 3-2 League Cup win over the Buddies in midweek after barrelling into the promising 19-year-old.
It prompted furious chants of “scum, scum” from the home fans at St Mirren Park, while the hosts’ manager Ian Murray described the challenge as “reckless”.
While Burchill had no qualms about Mullen’s dismissal, he is adamant the tackle appeared worse than it was due to his young striker losing his footing as he attempted to close Stewart down.
Nevertheless, Mullen was in remorseful mood after the full-time whistle.
Burchill said: “Danny apologised to the players and his teammates after the game. Danny really is a good lad and he put his hands up. It was a disappointing end to a great victory and, you don’t like to see a young lad get hurt, so it took the shine off it a touch.
“I see Ian [Murray] called it reckless, and possibly it was a little. However, seeing it at the time, I think Danny slipped. He closed down the boy very quickly, slipped slightly, and that has made it look a lot worse.
“It wasn’t a good challenge, but it was the slip that really made him take his body weight through the guy. He certainly didn’t mean it.”
There is little time for any anger to subside, with the sides immediately crossing swords in Championship action tomorrow afternoon, albeit Mullen will be suspended for the fixture.
However, Burchill does not foresee any hard feeling with his former boys’ club pal Ian Murray.
He added: “I wouldn’t expect it to spill over on Saturday. Not at all. I’ve known Ian Murray since we were playing together as 10-year-old’s for [Edinburgh youth side] Hutchison Vale!
“There will be no animosity at all between ourselves or the teams, it is just another league game – albeit one we are desperate to win.”