HEARTS striker John Sutton spoke out today about the disputed penalty award in last night's Europa League qualifier in Hungary and stressed he was "rugby tackled" by the Paksi defender Tibor Heffler.
Jamie Hamill scored the resultant spot-kick to secure Hearts a useful 1-1 draw, however Paksi protested strongly about the award and claimed after the match that the Finnish referee, Mattias Gestranius, had favoured the Edinburgh club.
Sutton spoke to the Evening News to give his version of events. He insisted Heffler impeded him to deny him a goalscoring opportunity as the pair challenged for Danny Grainger's free-kick in first-half stoppage-time.
"He rugby-tackled me and it was a penalty," said Sutton. "The only thing is, you don't always see referees give them from corners and free-kicks. It's sort of accepted that nothing is ever given but it was a definite penalty. It was good for us to get that just before half-time.
The defender was man-handling Eggert before that. I saw the ball coming in and I managed to get in front of him. I had a pretty decent chance of scoring so he brought me down. I think it was pretty much a definite penalty. Jamie dispatched it and it's just a shame we couldn't go on to win the game. It's a good away goal for us but it's only half-time in the overall tie. It will be good going back to Tynecastle, we know the atmosphere will be really good there. We know we have a good game on our hands."
Karoly Kis, the Paksi coach, argued that the referee was in favour of Hearts. "Before the penalty the referee was against us three or four times," he complained. "I never speak about referees, the last time I did it was about a year ago. At this moment I don't feel the referee made the same decisions for both teams and I don't understand it."