Osman Sow red card ‘70 minutes too long in coming’

IN THE wars during the derby and heavily-bandaged for most of it, Hibernian’s Michael Nelson shrugged off the physical threat posed by Hearts’ giant striker Osman Sow. “I don’t know if it was intentional, only he knows that,” the central defender said of the elbow he received to the head. “But I couldn’t care less if it was or not.”

Osman Sow is red carded at Tynecastle. Picture: Toby Williams

The loss of three points to Hibs’ capital rivals and contenders for promotion was far more painful, he added. “I think we deserved something. We lost the game and the boys are hurting and so is the manager and the coaching staff. But they have done their best and they will do their best this week to pick us up and keep us positive and it’s up to us to react to that.”

Turning back to his contest with Sow, Nelson said: “I got an elbow in the first half off the big man and then took another one in the second which opened [the wound] up again. It probably took 70 minutes too long to get [him] punished because the first one was probably as bad as the second. But I never asked for a red card or waved my arms around having a go at the ref. These things are just part and parcel of being a centre-half.”

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Nelson claimed he didn’t see the alleged headbutt by Jamie Walker on Lewis Stevenson but added: “I’m sure it will get reviewed and they’ll make a judgement on it. If there was a head used you can’t get away with stuff like that these days. You get found out sooner rather than later.”

Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs went further in his summing-up of the game. “To come away with a defeat feels like we’ve been robbed,” he said. “I thought we warranted something out of the game from the way we played. We didn’t look in any trouble and then suddenly in a few minutes we found ourselves two-nil down. We’d quietened the home crowd and the least we should have got was a draw.”

Hibs have now been beaten by both their rivals for promotion, by the same 2-1 margin, with the Ibrox loss coming in the Petrofac Training Cup. Stubbs reckoned Hibs were unlucky both times. “To not get anything out of these games hasn’t been the right outcome,” he added. But regarding the league he did not think the loss of three points to Hearts would be deeply significant. “It’s not going to have a major bearing on the season.”

Reviewing yesterday’s key incidents he said of Liam Craig’s miss from the penalty spot: “I don’t think we can look back and say we lost the game because of it, although we didn’t respond well enough afterwards.”

Of Sam Nicholson’s opening goal for Hearts he said: “We could have done more. The lad has put it through Robbo’s [Scott Robertson’s] legs and he’d already been booked. We could have done better to defend that.”

Robertson was involved in Hearts’ penalty. The correct decision? “I had no qualms about it,” Stubbs said. “If you put two hands on someone and push them, you can’t expect not to get a penalty against you. I’m not going to hide behind any decision. It was very easy for the ref to give it. He gave us one, which I think was a penalty, but he missed one or two things today.”

One of them was the alleged headbutt. “I think the lad put his head on one of our players at the end. It’s irrelevant now but when you’ve got a linesman right in front of it and you’ve got the referee…look at it and you’ll see what happens.”

One “crumb of comfort” for Hibs was Farid El Alagui’s goal. “He took it very well. But I sit here now and I’m disappointed for the players and the fans. It looked like nil-nil all over. For there to have been three goals, I’m surprised.”