BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Lewis Stevenson feared he had pushed his luck too far when he shoved referee Crawford Allan last weekend – but the Hibernian defender is adamant it is a mistake he will never make again.
The normally mild-mannered full-back was guilty of a loss of composure during the frustrating 1-1 draw with St Mirren.
Remonstrating with Allan over the decision to award a free-kick against him, Stevenson threw out a hand in disgust and caught the whistler on the shoulder.
The 27-year-old insists it was not intentional but immediately knew he was in trouble and was relieved when Allan accepted his instant apology and showed only a yellow card.
However, Hibs’ longest-serving servant is clear it was an error of judgement he will not repeat.
He said: “I don’t know where it came from. I meant it just as a friendly ‘come on, it’s never a free-kick’ kind of thing, but I did make more contact that I thought!
“I saw his eyes go wide and he gave me one of those looks, but I think he knew I didn’t mean it.
“I was glad he stayed on his feet because it ended up being a decent push! But I apologised straight away – thankfully he’s quite stocky.
“I said ‘that wasn’t a free-kick’ – but not quite in those words – but, after I pushed him, straight away I said sorry and he said ‘you can’t do that’, and I said ‘I know, I’m sorry’.
“I think I made more of a deal of it than it was and I think he used common sense – it would have been a bit harsh to send me off.
“When I saw his eyes I was a bit worried, but fair play to him because the letter of the law means he maybe could have sent me off.
“Some referees might have but thankfully I don’t think he’s one who takes himself too seriously. He knew I didn’t mean it like that, so that’s good. But I won’t be doing that again.”
Hibs travel to face Queen of the South this afternoon having slipped further behind league leaders Rangers with last Saturday’s draw against St Mirren, which came just three days after they had celebrated a League Cup victory over Aberdeen.
They are now 11 points behind, with a game in hand.
And, after watching Hearts run off with promotion last season, Stevenson is aware he and his team-mates cannot allow the Ibrox outfit to keep extending their advantage if they are to have any chance of putting up a challenge for the title.
He added: “After the week we’d had, we wanted to finish off with a win last weekend and draws at home this season won’t be good enough.
“We need to learn from last season. We know what has to be changed. After Christmas last year we went on a good run and we need to start that a bit earlier this season, and rack up as many points as we can and try not to think about Rangers.”