Hibs midfielder Marvin Bartley today insisted his post-match derby tweet was aimed in the direction of Hearts supporters and not midfield opponent Ross Callachan.
The 31-year-old took to social media less than an hour after the Easter Road side’s 1-0 victory over their city rivals ten days ago, Simon Murray’s third-minute strike handing Hibs the early-season bragging rights.
The Englishman’s post caused a furore with some suggesting he was having a pop at former Raith Rovers player Callachan, who joined the Tynecastle outfit in August.
The tweet read: “Who is this Ross they talk of, I’m guessing he was injured today?! @DMcGeouch @jmcginn7 you seen him my little puppies? #WeRunThisCity”.
Within minutes of sending the tweet, Bartley received a deluge of comments from Jambos, some branding him “unprofessional” and “pathetic”.
Hearts manager Craig Levein was asked for his take on Bartley’s actions in the days that followed and responded by describing it as “a nonsense” before claiming: “It used to be you were man enough to say something on the field.”
However, Bartley was adamant the message was directed at the Hearts supporters who’d sought to wind him up on Twitter before the Capital clash. The Hibee also insisted he has no problem with Tynecastle midfielder Callachan and is willing to clear the air the next time the clubs meet at the end of next month.
Bartley said: “For the Hearts fans that didn’t take too kindly to the tweet, I think they have to look at some of their own fans because before the game I was getting tweets saying that this ‘player is going to do this to you’ and everything else.
“It wasn’t abuse, just banter so I take it. I don’t write back so it’s all part of social media. I don’t take it to heart. I think it’s very important to remember that if you are going to give it out then you have to learn to take it back.
“My tweet wasn’t aimed at Ross. His name was just the Hearts fans’ great hope in terms of what they were saying this midfielder was going to do to me. I’ve heard it all before. There was me thinking ‘you’ve been giving it to me for four weeks so you better win the game’ and they didn’t. I was just merely asking where is the guy that you speak of? And then people want to get on their high horse and think I’ve done something wrong.
“I respect Ross as a player. I spoke to him on the pitch and, if he wants to speak next time, then I will. I took it as banter but if people want to take it seriously then that’s up to them.”