Dundee boss accuses Hibs’ Anthony Stokes of punching player ‘in balls’

Anthony Stokes and Jack Hendry square up at Easter Road
Anthony Stokes and Jack Hendry square up at Easter Road
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Dundee boss Neil McCann has labelled John Beaton’s decision not to dismiss Anthony Stokes as “outrageous” after accusing the Hibs forward of punching Jack Hendry “in the balls”.

The pair clashed amid a melee in the second period of Saturday’s 2-1 win for the Hibees at Easter Road, with Stokes appearing to lash out at the Dee defender.

After the dust settled, and following consultation with assistant referee Kylie Cockburn and fourth official Graham Beaton, the man in the middle booked both Stokes and Hendry.

McCann was seething in the aftermath and, to add insult to injury, the Ireland international went on to set up the winning goal for Simon Murray.

“I know the fourth official has a clear view because he is standing next to me and I know Kylie can see it because she is looking down the same barrel,” McCann said.

“Then John Beaton then gives a yellow card – before booking my player, who had been punched, too.

“After the game, John Beaton told me he goes on the information he has been given. That information was ‘the player has been struck by another player’ but he said he didn’t deem it violent conduct; it was ‘aggressive behaviour’.

“Well, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t take a lot to be painful when you get clipped in the balls with a closed fist.

“People might be thinking ‘oh, he’s lost the game and looking for excuses’. Well, it’s not the case – it was outrageous.”

Murray’s 13th goal of the season ensured a fourth win on the bounce for the Hibees after Martin Boyle and Marcus Haber had struck in the first period, and Neil Lennon was beaming with pride after his men fought fatigue to claim all three points.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the players,” Hibs boss Neil Lennon said. “We were dead on our feet and it’s like Emergency Ward 10 in there. But we dug in were outstanding at times.

“We have had five games in two weeks, really intense – won four and lost to Celtic in the (Betfred Cup) semi, so we need the break just now.

“If we had a game on Tuesday I would only have 15 fit players, so this break will do the players the world of good.”

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