Collins: Saints star admitted Hibs penalty claim was a ‘stonewaller’

James Collins appeals in vain for a penalty. Pic:  Ian Georgeson
James Collins appeals in vain for a penalty. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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HIBS striker James Collins was denied a penalty in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with St Johnstone and claimed that even Saints defender Brian Easton admitted the incident was a ‘stonewaller’.

Collins was adamant he was tripped in the box by the former Hamilton defender in stoppage time as Terry Butcher’s side failed to break down their stubborn opponents, who had been reduced to ten men during the first half when former Hibee Patrick Cregg was sent off.

After the match Easton insisted Collins was the one who kicked him and the big striker “went down a wee bit theatrically”.

Collins, however, has claimed the St Johnstone substitute admitted his culpability on the pitch before telling a different story publicly.

The Republic of Ireland internationalist said: “As I’ve gone to strike the ball, he has caught me on the calf and he came up to me after the game and said: ‘Listen mate, that’s a stonewall penalty’.

“He knows it and I don’t know what the referee is doing. It is a definite penalty.

“If the referee has not seen it then the linesman should see it. It has cost us the three points and referees need to look at themselves because it is costing teams points.”

Aside from the late penalty claim, the home side struggled to carve open the ten men of St Johnstone.

When they did, Hibs found Alan Mannus in fine fettle, making a super stop to deny James Collins and an excellent reflex save to parry away an errant clearance from his own player, Gary McDonald.

Collins admitted Hibs did not do enough going forward and conceded manager Terry Butcher may be correct when he claimed they had a “fear of winning” at Easter Road.

He added: “I don’t know if there is a fear there. Maybe he is right. We are waiting for something to happen rather than making it happen, so we need to regroup and go again on Boxing Day.”