Dylan McGeouch today claimed ex-Hearts midfielder Rudi Skacel was lucky to avoid a red card as Raith Rovers held Hibs to a draw at Easter Road.
McGeouch reckoned he had escaped “a sore one” when the veteran Skacel lunged at him on the stroke of half-time, an action which brought a booking for the Czech player during Saturday’s 1-1 stalemate.
And the 37-year-old, who scored twice in the 2012 Scottish Cup final against Hibs, incensed the home support with his “5-1” gesture as he was substituted, a move Raith boss Gary Locke admitted he had made “for his own sake”.
However, while insisting he’d seen players pick up a yellow card for far less, McGeouch insisted Skacel hadn’t troubled Hibs – who relinquished top spot to Dundee United by drawing against the Fifers – much “football-wise”.
Asked about Skacel’s tackle on him, the former Celtic player said: “When you see it back you can make your mind up, but I felt he had lunged and I did well to get out of the way. He caught me on the ankle on the way up but, if my leg was planted, he was catching me and it would have been a sore one.
“That’s what the refs are there for, to make those decisions so I can’t have any real arguments but we thought he had a few different challenges he got away with. And there were a few gestures to the fans as well on the way off. Any other game if you score a goal and celebrate like that then you get a booking so we were disappointed there were a few things he got away with.
“But I don’t think he really troubled us that much football-wise. He was maybe lucky to stay on the pitch. If he hadn’t, that would have gone in our favour, but we can’t make any excuses.”
McGeouch conceded, though, that players have got into trouble for much less than Skacel’s departing gestures, the Raith player having deliberately moved to the other side of the pitch as the substitution was signalled before slowly making his way to the Raith dug out.
He said: “I have seen guys getting booked for celebrating with their own players and just stepping off the pitch.
“I am not going to shout about players getting sent off and claim that would have made the difference. We shouldn’t let things like that affect us on the pitch. It should be the ref that deals with that.
“We just need to concentrate on getting things in the final third right, getting the ball in the net and we can let people like that do what they want and noise up the crowd so long as they have no effect on the game. If that’s all it is, we are happy with that.”
Locke claimed that had it been any Raith player other than Skacel there wouldn’t have been the same reaction, saying: “Because it’s Rudi there is no love lost there and the Hibs fans are always going to react.
“Sometimes that can sway a referee’s decision so we just felt it was best to protect him and take him off.”