BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson and Inverness manager John Hughes will discover today whether they are to be punished by the Scottish FA over comments made about referees.
Both are set to appear at Hampden in person after being charged with a breach of Disciplinary Rule 72, ‘indicating bias or incompetence’.
Neilson came to the attention of SFA Compliance Officer Tony McGlennan in the wake of Hearts’ controversial 3-2 defeat to Hamilton in August.
After seeing Callum Paterson receive a red-card, which was successfully appealed, Neilson claimed Hearts had practiced playing with ten men ahead of the game because there was a high chance that referee Willie Collum would send a player off.
Neilson appeared to have a point, with the official now having ordered off nine Hearts players in the last 36 matches of theirs that he has handled.
The Hearts head coach has vowed to defend himself at today’s hearing after recently saying: “I’m looking forward to going to Hampden. I’ve been a couple of times and the tea is good, the sandwiches are good – so we will see what they have to say.”
On the same day that Neilson made his remarks about Collum, Caley manager John Hughes questioned referee Andrew Dallas’ ability to handle Premiership matches.
Speaking after his side’s 1-1 draw at Dundee on August 29, Hughes, who has been linked with the vacancy at Dundee United, said: “What I will say is that I don’t think the referee to ready for the top-flight. He might be one day but not on this evidence.”
Hughes has also vowed to fight his charge, saying: “I stick by my comments because my comments weren’t personal and we will be fighting the charge.
“I don’t usually do that because I have no faith in the system or trust in the system and I think that is fair to say.
“Sometimes when you feel you’ve been hard done by, you go and fight.”