Raith Rovers manager Gary Locke said he had to take Rudi Skacel off against Hibs on Saturday as he feared he would be sent off. But Hibs midfielder Dylan McGeouch insisted that would have been no less than the midfielder deserved.
The man who was a thorn in the side of the Easter Road team during his Hearts days, scoring twice in the infamous 5-1 Scottish Cup final in 2012, was a niggling presence throughout Saturday’s Championship clash, which ended 1-1 and cost the home side their place at the top of the league.
But, having been frustrated by a hand injury that forced him off the pitch for treatment, Skacel was unable to channel his emotions productively. Instead, he became involved in verbal exchanges and minor altercations and was eventually booked just before half-time for a lunge on McGeouch.
“I did well to get out the way,” said the Hibs man. “He caught me on the ankle on the way up but if my leg was planted then he was catching me and it would have been a sore one.
“We thought he had a few different challenges that he got away with. And there were a few gestures to the fans as well on the way off.”
Cast as the pantomime villain, Skacel played up to the role when he was substituted in the 74th minute after another foul prompted a furious reaction. As he left the pitch, Skacel made a 5-1 gesture to the Hibs fans.
“Any other game if you score a goal and celebrate like that then you get a booking so we were disappointed that there were a few things he got away with,” said McGeouch.
“I am not going to shout about players getting sent off or claim that would have made the difference. I don’t think he really troubled us that much football-wise. But 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.”
Locke said: “I think for his own sake we had to take him off. If it was any other player in the Raith Rovers team that makes that challenge there wouldn’t have been a reaction. But 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.”