BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Hibernian head coach Alan Stubbs insists he hopes Rangers are successful in appealing the controversial red card dished out to Andy Halliday in Monday’s pulsating clash between the clubs.
And, after holding talks with Fraser Fyvie, the Easter Road boss is confident his players will not in future find themselves accused of play-acting in the manner the midfielder has done since the off-the-ball incident that took the shine off Rangers’ 4-2 victory.
Halliday reacted angrily to contact from behind from Fyvie and is accused of kicking out before barging the Hibs midfielder with his shoulder.
Fyvie went down clutching his face as if he had been head-butted before quickly bouncing back up, and television pictures show no contact was made with the former Aberdeen youngster’s head area.
The 22-year-old, who himself may be dealt with retrospectively by the SFA, claimed after the game that Halliday deserved to be sent-off for his aggressive reaction but Rangers are optimistic of having referee Bobby Madden’s dismissal overturned on appeal.
Having had time to review the incident in the aftermath, Stubbs yesterday claimed he could not condone the actions of either player.
And he is certain it is not the kind of incident that will be repeated by Fyvie or any of the rest of his squad.
He said: “I’ve spoken to Fraser about it, not in a detrimental way, but I don’t want to see anyone do anything which could possibly lead to something else.
“I don’t want to see any players get sent off, no matter what. I don’t advocate that at all.
“It’s not something I would want my players to do. It’s the same as going down in the penalty box or even anywhere else on the pitch.
“I don’t like that side of football and, to be honest, I don’t think you see my players doing that an awful lot.
“It happens in football and sometimes people have the perception that if you can’t beat them join them. That’s not my perception.
“I want us to do things right on and off the pitch and, if there’s no contact, then I hope Andrew gets off with it.”
Stubbs refused to divulge what was said in his discussions with Fyvie, whose afternoon-to-forget included giving the ball away for Jason Holt’s first-half equaliser and being beaten by Martyn Waghorn for Rangers’ match-clinching fourth goal.
However, he added: “I think what was said between me and Fraser has to stay private – but if Andy gets off with it then fine, good luck to him.
“I don’t think Fraser would react like that again. Listen, it’s the heat of the game, there’s a lot riding on it so sometimes you do get reactions.”
The incident added yet more hostility to a match that had been exhaustively hyped up in advance.
Stubbs’ forthright opinions and willingness to speak about Hibs’ Championship rivals appeared to rile Ibrox counterpart Mark Warburton, but the former Celtic and Everton defender is adamant there was no bad blood between the pair during the managers’ traditional post-match get-together.
He explained: “I’ve got a lot of respect for Mark. We had drink and a chat after the game but, I’m afraid to say it, we’re in a business where we both want to win.
“He’s not my best mate, but I respect him – a lot. But I want to win.
“You have to respect that we may be different characters. Mark is the one who will play things down, I might be a character who plays things up.
“You don’t want two managers who are drab.”