Hibs boss: English disciplinary system is fairer

Alan Stubbs and assistant John Doolan

Alan Stubbs and assistant John Doolan

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Alan Stubbs believes the English disciplinary system is fairer to players after learning he’ll lose both Scott Allan and Keith Watson to suspension after the pair were booked as Hibs lost to Queen of the South.

It was a sixth yellow card of the season for both Allan and Watson, meaning they’ll sit out the rearranged Championship game against Livingston later this month.

Down south they’d have escaped a ban, the FA’s rules stating that if a player hasn’t been cautioned five times by the end of December he’d need to have accumulated ten bookings by the second Sunday in April before a suspension would kick in. And, if he hadn’t hit the threshold by then, he’d need to have picked up a whopping 15 yellow cards by the end of the season before being punished.

But in Scotland there are no such cut-off points, bookings being allowed to mount until a player hits six, triggering an automatic one-match ban.Stubbs said: “The way the system works here is different to England. It’s not so accommodating I feel, or as fair.

“Asking players to go through the whole season but asking them to accumulate so few bookings is a tough one.”

Stubbs, though, has urged his players to cut out the “silly bookings”.

While Watson, who had been yellow-carded five times at Dundee United before arriving in Edinburgh on loan, got on the wrong side of referee Calum Murray for a foul on Queens winger Danny Carmichael, Allan was judged by the official to be guilty of “simulation” as he went down under the challenge of Stephen McKenna.

Without referring to that incident in particular, the head coach said: “It’s disappointing when any booking is needless. We’ve had a few players this season who’ve had bookings for silly things such as kicking the ball away, not retreating ten yards at a free-kick and talking to the ref the wrong way.

“Fair enough for tackles that deserve bookings, but cards for these other things are frustration creeping in and a lack of discipline. They are the ones that come back to hit you.

“We’ll lose them for the Livingston game but we’ll deal with that as and when it comes along. In the meantime, we have important matches starting with tomorrow’s game at Dumbarton.”

Hibs will head west intent on halting a run of three successive defeats, a record that has badly dented their hopes of finishing second in the table. But, Stubbs insisted, the target of nailing down a play-off place remains the same.

He said: “The main thing has always been to finish in the play-offs and as high up as possible and that remains the aim. We’ve had three disappointing results but I don’t think there’s been an awful lot in the games. Against Rangers we were so-so, we played well in the Raith Rovers game and, on Saturday, while we didn’t get going in the first half, the second was better.

“However, we have to work harder as a team without the ball and really push ourselves onto the other team. Against Queens, we didn’t really do that for the first 15 or 20 minutes. We made it a little bit too easy for them to get shots away on goal. But it starts with the front two and works back through the team.

“It’s always been our aim to nail down a play-off position as soon as possible. The last few weeks have not been what we wanted, there’s no hiding the fact it’s been disappointing from a results point of view. Now we aim to put that right tomorrow.”