Hearts to appeal Robbie Neilson’s touchline dismissal

Referee John Beaton sends Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson to the stands. Pic: SNS

Referee John Beaton sends Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson to the stands. Pic: SNS

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Robbie Neilson revealed Hearts will appeal his dismissal from the touchline during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

The Jambos missed the chance to go top of the Ladbrokes Premiership table after Graham Cummins’ second-half strike ensured all three points remained in Perth, ending a run of three successive wins for the visitors.

Referee John Beaton sent the Hearts boss to the stand for what he believed was sarcastic applause during the second half, although Neilson insisted it wasn’t aimed at the officials, and was instead 
genuine encouragement for his players.

Hearts found themselves trailing after dominating proceedings until that point, having created several good opportunities, only to be thwarted by a fine performance from home keeper Zander Clark. The Jambos were pushing hard for an equaliser when Neilson’s actions were interpreted as criticism of Beaton.

The club were successful after asking the Scottish FA to review the decision to caution Tony Watt for simulation during the previous weekend’s home win over Hamilton and are hoping for a similar outcome when they do the same for their manager.

“It was for clapping,” said a bemused Neilson. “[Sam] Nicholson puts a great delivery in, we had a good attack at it and I clapped. The fourth official thought it was sarcastic towards the referee for a decision and I got sent to the stand. We were trying to get our fans to clap by putting in a good performance and entertaining, but we’ll see where it goes.

“We’ll definitely appeal. I don’t know what the referee has put in – it depends what’s in his report. From my point of view, where are we going if you can’t clap? Not a word was said at all–- no swearing, nothing. It was sarcastic clapping in his mind, so we’ll see.”