Alan Stubbs has told Fraser Fyvie to cut out the play-acting after a clash with Andy Halliday which led to the Rangers midfielder being sent off during Hibs’ 4-2 defeat at Ibrox.
Fyvie was seen clutching his face after Halliday aimed a kick at him and then lunged towards him with his shoulder as he reacted angrily to a challenge from the Hibs player, leading referee Bobby Madden to show a straight red card which the Ibrox club immediately announced they would appeal.
Although video evidence suggested no such contact was actually made with Fyvie’s face, the former Aberdeen star was adamant Halliday had to go, saying: “He’s acted aggressively towards me. He kicks me to start with and then he leans in. I would say the referee had no choice.”
Monday’s incident, though, has drawn parallels to the clash between former Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty and Charlie Mulgrew in 2009 in which the Northern Ireland internationalist fell holding his face after the then Aberdeen defender squared up to him. Mulgrew was red carded but Lafferty was later hit with a two-match ban for simulation.
However, when asked if he would be disappointed if retrospective action were to be taken against Fyvie, Stubbs, who admitted in his post-match interview that his player may have exaggerated his response to Halliday’s retaliation, revealed he believes that Fyvie won’t react in such a way again.
The head coach, who also queried why Halliday had put himself in such a position in the first place, said: “I’ve spoken to Fraser about it, not in a detrimental way, but I don’t want to see anyone do anything which could possibly lead to something else.
“I don’t want to see any players get sent off, no matter what. I don’t advocate that at all. But you have to look at yourself as well in the situation. I don’t condone either player’s actions. Could they have dealt with it better? Of course they could.
“It’s not something I would want my players to do. It’s the same as going down in the penalty box or even anywhere else on the pitch. I don’t like that side of football and to be honest, I don’t think you see my players doing that an awful lot.
“It happens in football and sometimes people have the perception that if you can’t beat them, join them. That’s not my perception. I want us to do things right on and off the pitch and if there’s no contact then I hope Andrew gets off with it.”
Adamant the content of his talk with Fyvie will remain between them, Stubbs, who insisted that one incident shouldn’t detract from what he thought was a good game of football, continued: “I don’t think Fraser would react like that again. Listen, it’s the heat of the game, there’s a lot riding on it and sometimes you do get reactions. Andy Halliday had a reaction and Fraser’s had a reaction. Two wrongs don’t make a right. We’re all passionate and we like to see passion in the game but, of cours,e we want to see it kept in check as well.
“In a big game like that I want to see passion, it has to mean something but you have to control your emotions as well. I’m not just going to label the blame on one, I think both of them could have controlled their emotions better.”
Stubbs praised the performance of referee Madden, believing the official had manaaged the game “with a football knowledge rather than strictly following the letter of the law,” adding: “There were challenges that on another day could have been a yellow card but he used common sense so from that point of view, I’ve got no problems.
“At the sending off, if you look at where he is and his line of sight, I think that’s why he has given it.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs revealed he hopes to have skipper David Gray fit for Saturday’s match against Raith Rovers after the full back was forced off at half-time at Ibrox having suffered a head knock.
He said: “It was an innocuous clash of heads. At the time the doc said he was a little bit groggy getting up but he looked like he was going to be okay.
“Then he was sick at half-time and we knew he couldn’t carry on. I spoke to him about ten o’clock that night and again about eight yesterday morning and he’s feeling better. He’s caught one right on the temple, and they’re not nice.
“But Dave’s Dave. He’s a warrior, a fighter and we’ll see how he is for Saturday but obviously the next couple of days will determine where we are on that.”