Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson prepared to send evidence to Scottish FA after probe was launched over his comments


BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson admits he is willing to send details of his training drills to the Scottish FA after revealing how he is being investigated for his comments about referee Willie Collum.

Defender Callum Paterson was ordered off by the official in the controversial 3-2 loss to Hamilton before the international break but that red card has since been downgraded to a yellow on appeal.

Immediately after the match, Neilson admitted that his team had practised being reduced to ten men in the build up to the game, with Collum having sent off eight Hearts players in 35 matches prior to the New Douglas Park defeat.

800px-Tynecastle_Stadium_2007 Zhi Yong Lee
Neilson expected referee Collum to send a player off against Hamilton


But SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan has taken exception to Neilson’s remarks and has launched a probe.

Neilson, who will now have right-back Paterson available for tonight’s televised clash at Inverness, said:

“We got an e-mail through from the SFA asking for my thoughts on my comments and I’ve just said exactly what I think.

“The stats are there and that’s it. The stats are there to back it up; I didn’t question any integrity, I didn’t comment on a performance.

“The stats are there for everyone to see if you do your homework on it.

“They basically asked me about my comments about training. If they want me to justify all my training then I’ll send it all through to them.

“I spoke to (SFA Head of Referee Development) John Fleming right after the game but I’ve not heard from him since so I have not had answers.

“But the main thing is that he’s available and we want our best players to be able to play.”

Neilson and director of football Craig Levein accompanied Paterson to Hampden for last Thursday’s hearing and the former club captain was confident the panel would clear the defender of any red card offence for the tackle on Darian MacKinnon.

Neilson added: “It’s good to get him back and I’m pleased the decision got made.

“He could have missed the next two games, they’re two big games against the team that finished third (Inverness) and the team that finished second (Aberdeen).

“I was confident we would get it rescinded, right away as soon as I saw it. We watched it again and it’s not a sending off.”