Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes says it is “bang out of order” to blame Peter Pawlett for Dundee’s relegation.
The Dons this week accepted a two-match SFA ban for Pawlett, whose dive in the box led to Niall McGinn equalising from the penalty spot and consigned Dundee to bottom place in the SPL last weekend.
Dundee manager John Brown mainly hit out at referee Alan Muir after the game, pointing out that jobs would be lost as a result of the decision but also criticised Pawlett’s fall as Lewis Toshney tried to prevent contact. Some of Pawlett’s previous diving misdemeanours – two bookings this season and an earlier two-match ban – were highlighted on television on Sunday night and McInnes feels his player has become a scapegoat.
“We have accepted the punishment,” said the Pittodrie manager. “It’s dealt with, we move on from it. What has to be clear is that no way is Peter Pawlett going to be made a scapegoat for Dundee’s relegation. There’s been a lot aimed at him and I’ll be looking in the future if there’s the same outrage and comment on players in instances like that.
“To label people losing their jobs and the consequences of Dundee being relegated on Peter Pawlett is bang out of order. Dundee have had 36 games to sort themselves out. They were 1-0 up against ten men with half an hour to go and could have dealt with that situation better.”
Brown, meanwhile, has backtracked on his promise to walk away from football if he was punished for criticising the penalty decision.
Dundee yesterday confirmed that they would challenge the one-match ban that the SFA offered Brown on Wednesday following his criticism of Muir. However, Brown now admits he was rash to say in a radio interview on Monday that he would resign if hit with SFA action.
“We’re appealing the charge and hoping it will be overturned,” said Brown. “But, as for the other stuff, well we all say stuff in the heat of the moment.”