Hibs striker Marc McNulty is at a loss to explain why referee Bobby Madden booked him over the incident with Allan McGregor late in Rangers’ 1-0 victory over the Easter Road side on Sunday.
In an explosive ending to the match, McGregor was shown a straight red card for kicking McNulty as he took a goalkeeper’s kick, an action his manager Steven Gerrard labelled as “a moment of madness”.
Gerrard did not defend McGregor, claiming that instead of talking about his team picking up three points having not played well, he was being forced to discuss such an incident, one which will cost him his “magnificent” goalkeeper for this weekend’s final Old Firm clash.
McNulty, however, claimed what had happened was “one of those things,” the on-loan hitman stood in front McGregor to be “a bit of a nuisance” as the goalkeeper attempted a clearance.
He said: “There was obviously a coming together between the two of us. I turned away and jogged on and the referee pulled it back. For me, the most surprising thing was that I was penalised in it all and given a booking. I do that every week, just standing in front of the keeper and making a nuisance of myself. All strikers do that to keepers.
“I never actually touched him or touched the ball. I said to the ref: ‘What have I actually done wrong?’ The ref told me that I had stuck my leg out, but I didn’t. So it was surprising that he ended up booking me for it.
“There was a wee bit of contact when he (McGregor) kicked out. But I didn’t moan about it or anything. You just get up and get on with it. I didn’t read too much into it. But, obviously, the ref or the linesman have spotted it and decided to send him off.
“There wasn’t any kind of niggle between us previously. He’s kicked the ball up the park, followed through with a kick – and only he’ll know whether he meant it or not. You would need to ask him whether he meant it. I just got up and got on with it at the time.”