Alan Stubbs today insisted his respect for Peter Houston had grown after the Falkirk manager publicly apologised having accused Hibs midfielder John McGinn of “going down too easily”.
Although Stubbs was adamant his midfielder was denied a “stonewall” penalty as he was challenged by Bairns defender Luke Leahy during Sunday’s 1-1 draw, Houston was critical of the 21-year-old, who was involved in a controversial spot-kick decision earlier in the season which resulted in Falkirk’s only home defeat of the season so far.
“John McGinn is a fantastic young talent,” Houston said, “But what he has to watch is getting a reputation for going down easily in the box. The last time he went down and got a penalty and anyone I have spoken to in football does not recognise it as a penalty or foul. For the talent he has, he has to be careful not to get a reputation for going down too easily.”
However, revealing he’d reviewed footage of the incident, in a statement on Falkirk’s official website, Houston said: “John had a strong case for a penalty and fair credit to him for attempting to play on. At the time of making the comments I had not seen the footage properly.”
Today Stubbs, who admitted he was baffled by Houston’s claim, accepted his counterpart’s apology, made in a phone call the morning after the game. He said: “I was surprised when I heard about the comments but I respect Peter even more for the phone call to me and John to apologise.
“It is important to know John is a really honest boy. Even in the first game it was not his fault, there was some contact and he went down. On Sunday it was a penalty, whichever way you look at it.”