Cammy Devlin holds Hearts dressing-room chat and offers apology after red card against Rangers

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson admitted Cammy Devlin’s red card against Rangers was justified following the Ibrox club’s 4-0 victory at Tynecastle.

Referee Steven McLean dismissed the Australian midfielder in the first half for a dangerous challenge on Rangers winger Rabbi Matondo. The visitors were 2-0 ahead at that stage thanks to Antonio Colak’s double. Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent struck late on to complete the scoring.

Devlin spoke with Neilson and apologised to team-mates for the dismissal. “We got a man sent off after 30-odd minutes. When you play against good teams and you do that, leaving yourself nearly an hour against 11 men, it’s very difficult. That was disappointing,” stated Neilson.

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“We lost a goal very early but responded. We got into good areas but the final moment just wasn’t there for us. Ultimately, the red card killed it.

“I think it’s a red card. Could the referee have handled it differently? Maybe, but we gave him an opportunity to send Cammy off and I can’t really argue with it.

“I’ve spoken to Cammy and he’s disappointed because he’s let the team down, he knows that. He’s been fantastic for us from day one, he’s just got his first international cap [for Australia].

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“He’s eager to do well and he’s got energy, but there’s a line and there are areas of the pitch you don’t have to do that. Hopefully he’ll live and learn from it.

“He’s apologised to the players but it’s done, we’ve all been there. You’ve got to learn from the experience.”

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Hearts midfielder Cammy Devlin is shown a straight red card against Rangers.

Asked how the referee could have acted, Neilson replied. “It could have potentially been a yellow. Cammy didn’t come off the ground, it wasn’t really at pace, but he gave the ref an opportunity by coming in from behind and has come down on it.

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“When you’re playing against the Old Firm you can’t give the ref an opportunity to do that because it’s probably going to end up in a red card. That’s where we’ve let ourselves down.

“Although we were 2-0 down, I actually thought we were playing quite well. We were in the game and creating chances. It was just that big moment that wasn’t there. The red card changed it totally.”

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Hearts were encouraged by forward Stephen Humphrys’ display in a wide-right role, with Robert Snodgrass emerging from the substitutes’ bench to gain much-needed match-practice.

“Stephen is a good player. He’s got pace, power, physicality and can play in a number of positions. He showed what he can do,” said Neilson. “Snoddy is still getting his fitness levels but you can see the quality he brings.

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“He’s out there talking and organising. That’s why I brought him on because we had to work differently. He’ll be a really good player for us and that 45 will have helped him.”

Hearts entertain Italian Serie A side Fiorentina in Edinburgh on Thursday in the Europa Conference League. Neilson insisted there won’t be any issues raising players’ confidence: “That won’t be a problem. They’ll be in on Sunday to prepare for Thursday. It’s a massive game.

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“We have to make sure we keep 11 players on the pitch. When you’re playing against top teams, if you do that you’re in trouble.”

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