Hearts manager Robbie Neilson says Lewis Ferguson dived for penalty as Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin defends his player

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson claimed Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson dived to win a penalty in the Edinburgh club’s 2-0 win at Tynecastle.

Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 10:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 11:30 pm

Neilson accused Ferguson of conning referee Steven McLean on 70 minutes, although the Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon saved the Scotland midfielder’s spot-kick.

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin sprung to his player’s defence after Neilson spoke out about the incident. Referee Steven McLean judged that Nathaniel Atkinson fouled Ferguson inside the penalty area with Hearts 2-0 up through John Souttar and Stephen Kingsley.

“It’s a dive. I’ve seen it already. At the time I thought it was,” said Neilson. “I don’t blame the referee. The player has tried to con him. “It’s just disappointing. I’d like to think the compliance officer will have a good look at it.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson with Aberdeen counterpart Jim Goodwin.

“We dominated the game and created chances. They go up the pitch, con the referee and could have got back in the game. If that ball goes in for the penalty, they are back in the game through someone conning the referee. So I’m very, very disappointed in it.

“Craig’s a top goalkeeper and I think that’s the word, justice. It shouldn’t have been a penalty. Thankfully Craig has pulled off another top save.”

Goodwin responded: “Hearts were the better team. I have a lot of time for Robbie but Lewis is not a diver. There was contact, he went over and Steven McLean thought it warranted a penalty and so be it.

“I think Robbie should focus on the positives of his own team because I thought they were excellent. They played really well and deserved their victory.”

Goodwin also insisted that Declan Gallagher’s first-half header was “legitimate”, while Neilson praised goalscoring defenders Souttar and Kingsley.

“John could play anywhere, he could probably play up front if you put him there,” he said. “I was pleased to get goals from set-plays. The analysts have been doing a lot of work on it in sessions and it’s pleasing to get two from them.

“I think John, Stephen and Craig Halkett have given us real solidity. We’ve missed John for a bit and Halkett, so having that base gives us strength.”

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