Hearts' Robbie Neilson won't stop questioning referees as he laments 'the old Glasgow long blink' after red card at Rangers
Despite a three-game ban following his second brush with officialdom this year, Hearts manager Robbie Neilson insisted he won’t stop questioning refereeing decisions.
He is determined not to curb his enthusiasm after being sent to the stand near the end of last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Rangers at Ibrox.
Neilson said “the old Glasgow long blink” was at play as referee Don Robertson booked Rangers’ Juninho Bacuna and Hearts’ Stephen Kingsley despite the former appearing to grab the latter by the throat.
Neilson complained about the incident and was issued two quick yellow cards, followed by a red. That brought a one-game ban from the Scottish Football Association and also triggered a two-game punishment suspended since February.
He must now sit in the stand for Hearts’ next three matches, starting with Dundee’s visit to Tynecastle Park on Saturday. The manager accepted the sanction rather than contest it but stressed he would continue fighting his club’s cause if he feels decisions are wrong.
“I got offered a ban last time. I didn't accept it and I ended up getting two games plus two [suspended]. So if you get offered one, you know there's the potential to get another two plus two,” said Neilson.
“The way it works on the panel, you're guilty until you prove your innocence, so there's not really much point in going into it. Sometimes you just need to accept these things as disappointing as it is.
“We've been all been there before. It's the old Glasgow long blink, where you don't see things, so we'll just need to move on. It's done now, we're still not very happy about it but we have to accept it.”
Neilson added that he won’t be calming his passion. “Nah, I don't think so. I don't think I showed too much passion on Saturday. I was just letting the referee know my thoughts on it,” he said.
“There wasn't any swearing but I think you have to show it means a lot to you and show we won't go to places and just accept decisions, we need to fight for them as well.”
Asked if he would be fining himself, he laughed: “Naw.”
Without their manager in the technical area, Hearts must strive to continue their unbeaten Premiership start against Dundee. “It should be alright. The players know what they need to do. We don’t change much in what we’re doing. I will be able to communicate with the bench,” said Neilson.
The match carries added edge given Dundee voted for Hearts’ enforced relegation to the Championship last summer after the Covid 19 pandemic struck.
“We spoke about it last season and we will touch on it again,” said Neilson. “I think it’s very important there’s that bit of edge about the game and it’s good to have that within the game as long as it doesn’t boil over.
“The players will be motivated and ready to go. And I’m sure the 20,000 Hearts fans will have the place rocking. I think in football these things can linger on for a long long time. It's part of life, nothing goes away now.”