Hearts manager Craig Levein has had a pop at Marvin Bartley after the Hibernian player derided his Tynecastle midfield counterpart Ross Callachan in the wake of Tuesday night’s derby.
While players from every side have been known to use social media to goad rival clubs, the personal nature of Bartley’s tweet, asking his 15,300 followers “Who is this Ross they talk of? I’m guessing he was injured today”, was considered a bit naughty, given the fact there had been no obvious provocation from the Hearts player himself.
“I remember the days when you used to be brave enough to say these things to people’s face,” said Levein. “Now, it’s a case of ‘the game’s finished, I’ll just tweet something’. It used to be you were man enough to say something on the field.”
The Easter Road club out-played Hearts, with Dylan McGeouch, John McGinn and Bartley, pictured, bossing the midfield as they wrapped up a 1-0 victory in the first Edinburgh derby of the season. That outcome allowed the Leith side to stretch their unbeaten run in the fixture to eight matches.
But while banter and ribbing is to be expected, including Bartley’s boastful sign-off, ‘#WeRunThisCity’, Kyle Lafferty’s dig at Hibs and Martin Boyle’s emoji retort, the public ridicule of one professional by another, is less common.
“I’ve not spoken to Ross about it. But maybe Ross will tweet him back with something nasty,” sighed Levein. “What a nonsense!”
Whether non-plussed or uninterested in a Twitter spat, Callachan has, so far, chosen not to bite but, when he was challenged by others, and urged to “stay classy”, Bartley justified his dig, blaming Hearts fans for the fact he lashed out at the 24-year-old.
“What is shocking is the fans from your so-called club telling me he will smash me in half!! Goodnight,” he told one critic, “Not slagging anyone but if you give it out then you must take it!!” he said, when another accused him of crossing a line.
But the original tweet did, apparently, appeal to many of the club’s fans and staff, gaining more than 900 retweets and around 2,400 likes.