John Potter’s wrist slap won’t stop him sticking up for his Hibs team

John Potter believes the reason he and Jack Ross work so well together is because they are so different. A recent brush with the Scottish football authorities is not going to change that.

Hibs assistant manager John Potter was censured after a touchline stooshie, but has not been banned from the technical area. Picture: SNS.

Potter, the Hibs assistant manager, escaped a serious sanction last week following a touchline fracas between the two benches during a home game against Rangers in December. Both clubs were issued with a notice of complaint after the clash, which the Ibrox side won 3-0.

A touchline fracas developed after Hibs defender Ryan Porteous’ flying challenge on Rangers left-back Borna Barisic, which earned a red card. Tempers flared in the dug-outs and Potter and Rangers technical coach Tom Culshaw were shown red cards for their part in a rammy that broke out.

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At a hearing at Hampden last Thursday the SFA’s disciplinary panel simply censured Potter and Hibs, handing the club a suspended £1,500 fine. Culshaw, meanwhile, was banned for two matches, one of which was suspended.

It meant that Potter was able to take his place in the dug-out on Sunday as Hibs progressed to the last eight of the Scottish Cup with a 4-1 win over Lowland League side BSC Glasgow. He was in usual mode; barking instructions at players while Ross, whom he has assisted at Sunderland as well as Hibs, cut a more thoughtful demeanour on the touchline.

While he admits he crossed the line – literally – against Rangers, Potter argued it was only in reaction to what occurred on the visitors’ bench and he will always defend his colleagues. He is relieved to be able to put it all behind him now, with Hibs in the midst of a busy period. They host Ross County tomorrow before travelling to Kilmarnock this weekend.

“It is something that has dragged on a little bit,” he said. “I apologised pretty quickly for what happened, my behaviour could have been better I know that. I probably reacted to something else that happened at that time. Hopefully I’ve learned. We went up and told the powers that be what happened and our side of the story and we are just delighted to still be on the touchline.

“You want to look after your own players, your own team and your own staff,” he added. “If you think there’s other people trying to influence other people then I will stick up for my players and our staff. Whether it was right or wrong, and could it have been done a different way, then probably yes, but it happens and it’s forgotten about now. We move on.”

As for Rangers’ unhappiness at the judgment, and whether he felt justice had been served or not, Potter added: “I just worry about myself and Hibs. I didn’t think there was that much wrong with it. It probably looks worse because there were a lot of people involved and a lot of people came from nowhere but I stayed most of the time in my technical area. I left it once by a yard, so the majority of time I was there (inside the technical area). I am happy with the outcome.”

The saga has not encouraged a noticeable change in Potter’s dugout style and he was his old voluble self at the weekend.

“We are a wee bit different from each other!” he said. “Jack used to get a lot more involved. He is a bit calmer now and more thoughtful about what’s going on on the pitch. I’m jumping about a wee bit. We are different, hopefully we can complement each other.

“We had a few incidents last year down at Sunderland, now he keeps out the road and keeps calm,” he added.

Meanwhile, Potter can understand why many Hibs fans are are already hopeful Greg Docherty’s loan move from Rangers can become a permanent one.

The midfielder scored once and helped create three other goals on Sunday as Hibs overcame their non-league opponents. It was only his second appearance for the Easter Road side.

“We want good players at this club,” said Potter. “Obviously he is contracted to Rangers, we just have to wait and see. But if there are good players and guys we can think we can get in we would love to have them.

“A few clubs down south were wanting to bring him back,” he added, with reference to the competition Hibs faced for a player who scored ten goals while on loan at Shrewsbury Town last season. “He is one we looked at straight away and wanted to get in. It took a bit of time but we are delighted to get it done. Hopefully he enjoys it and scores a few more goals.”