Michael Weir: Why I was delighted to see Paul Heckingbottom lose the rag at that awful decision for Celtic

I thought it was great to see Paul Heckingbottom lose the rag a bit and I think he was 100 per cent right to have a go.

By Michael Weir
Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 5:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 2:47 am

No-one had a clue what was going on when Kevin Clancy stopped the game having, apparently, been told by fourth official Nick Walsh that Celtic should be given a foul.

The officials are obviously mic’d up and are talking to each other throughout matches but, as was the case on Saturday, the rest of us are left totally in the dark.

To virtually everyone inside the ground it looked as if Clancy had stopped play because James Forrest was injured. It was clearly not a head knock and Hibs were on the attack and Clancy had initially allowed play to continue before blowing the whistle.

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I was up in the stand with a number of former players who were at the game to mark Pat Stanton’s 75th birthday and, like virtually everyone else, we were mystified as to what was going on.

And when the game restarted the confusion was glaringly evident, there were Hibs players who believed the ball was going to be returned to them and were caught out of position when Celtic made full use of the free-kick to equalise.

No wonder Heckingbottom reacted the way he did. He’s a manager under a bit of pressure to get results and to see that happen must have been infuriating. So, I thought it was good to see him stand up for his team, to show his unhappiness.

A display of passion like that doesn’t go amiss. You don’t want to see it game in, game out, but when things go against you like that then it’s only right he makes his displeasure clear.

The likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Jim McLean were great at picking their moment but this was the first time we’ve seen Heckingbottom react in this way, to show he’s hurting.

The incident also begs the question of just how much power does the fourth official have? The foul Walsh saw on Forrest - and it looked as if Clancy had just as good a view - happened right in front of the technical areas where he was positioned, but can he see from there what is happening in the far corners of the pitch?

It simply made our game, beamed live on national television, look amateurish. It was, as Heckingbottom said, a farce.

However, it wasn’t just that moment – how Odsonne Edouard didn’t get sent off for raising his hands to Josh Vela, I’ll never know. It was a red card any day of the week, a big decision at that particular stage of the game and one which might have had a bearing on the final outcome but only Clancy can explain why he allowed him to stay on the pitch and why Vela, who had done absolutely nothing wrong, was booked along with the Celtic striker. Baffling.