Hearts boss Robbie Neilson claims he was sent to stand for ‘sarcastically clapping’ during defeat to St Johnstone

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ROBBIE Neilson has claimed he was sent to the stand during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to St Johnstone for ‘sarcastically clapping’.

The Hearts head coach was dismissed from the technical area by referee John Beaton 14 minutes from time at McDiarmid Park as Graham Cummins’ second-half strike separated the sides.

Neilson, who initially sat in the front row of the main stand right beside the dugout before being moved two rows further back, insists he was applauding his team’s play but was accused by fourth official Mike Roncone of mocking Beaton.

Neilson, who insists he will defend himself if he faces an SFA notice of complaint, said: “I was sent to the stand for clapping. (Sam) Nicholson puts a good delivery in, we get a good attack at it, I clap it.

“The fourth official thought it was sarcastic at the ref for a decision and I got sent to the stand.

“We were trying to get our fans to clap with a good performance and being entertaining but obviously I’m not allowed to clap.

“We’ll see where it goes. I don’t know what the ref has put in his report but from my point of view where are we going if you can’t clap? Not a word was said at all, no swearing, nothing.”

Meanwhile, Neilson insists he is not willing to compromise on his principles in search of victories.

PROGRESS

He added: “The big thing for us was that we had given ourselves an opportunity to go top, which shows where we are at this stage of the season and where we are as a club.

“I thought we were by far the better team. We didn’t get the result, but that’s football.

“But I’d far rather we played the way we did and create loads of chances and not win the game than just bang the ball long and hope for something to happen and get a scrap.

“The players don’t enjoy that, I don’t enjoy that, the fans don’t enjoy that.

“It’s about progressing the club and progressing the young players and that’s what we did.

“We’ve got a group of really good players and we won’t be negative. We don’t want to win by any means possible, we want to play the right way.

“If it means at times we don’t get the result we want, we have to accept that, because nine times out of 10 we do get the result.”

@IainCollin

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