Robbie Neilson stands by Willie Collum comments

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson speaks to the media ahead of his side's upcoming Ladbrokes Premiership clash against ICT. Picture: SNS
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson speaks to the media ahead of his side's upcoming Ladbrokes Premiership clash against ICT. Picture: SNS
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ROBBIE Neilson has been asked to explain the comments he made in the wake of the erroneous sending off of his defender Callum Paterson.

The red card has since been rescinded, following an SFA review, but the Hearts manager may yet face a sanction for his post-match filleting of referee Willie Collum, and the revelation that he had trained his side for the prospect of losing a man after discovering who would be officiating.

He claimed that statistics showed that there was a high likelihood of a dismissal and despite being asked by the football authorities to elaborate on that view, he refused to back down or accept that he said anything to warrant punishment.

“We got an e-mail through asking for my thoughts on my comments and I’ve just said exactly what I think,” he said. “The stats are there and that’s it. The stats are there to back it up, I didn’t question any integrity, I didn’t comment on a performance. The stats are there for everyone to see if you if you do your homework on it.

“They basically asked me about my comments about training. If they want me to justify all my training then I’ll send it all through to them.”

That match ended in Hearts’ first defeat and first dropped points of their Premiership campaign and while Neilson was far from happy, he says he was relieved to have Paterson’s red card quashed, rendering him available for this evening’s match away to Inverness.

“It’s good to get him back and I’m pleased the decision got made. He could have missed the next two games and they’re two big games against the team that finished third and the team that finished second,” added Neilson.

“I was confident we would get it rescinded. I spoke to John Fleming [the SFA head of referee development] right after the game but I’ve not heard from him since so I have not had answers. But the main thing is that Callum’s available and we want our best players to be able to play.”