Kallum Higginbotham hit out at “attention-seeking” James Tavernier after the Rangers full-back posted a picture on social media showing a cut sustained in a challenge by the Kilmarnock attacker.
Higginbotham was given his marching orders for a studs-up challenge on Tavernier during the two sides’ 0-0 Scottish Cup tie at Ibrox.
While the challenge was high, many wondered whether much contract had been made. This was later confirmed by Tavernier, who took to Twitter to post an image of three visible scratches on high lower thigh, purportedly left by Higginbotham’s boot. In the tweet, Tavernier suggestively asked ‘red card or not?’ along with the picture and a couple of deep-in-thought emojis.
The tweet has disappointed the Kilmarnock No.11, who felt it harmed his chances of winning an appeal against the straight red card.
He told the Evening Times: “I don’t have Twitter myself but a few of the lads showed me that when I came in on Monday. It’s disappointing because in my eyes it’s attention-seeking and he’s trying to prove that I’ve touched him.
“Maybe if he hadn’t posted that picture we could have tried to have appealed it, but the picture shows there was contract so it would affect the perception of the challenge.
“I never tried to hurt the guy, I wouldn’t do that. It’s just the way I play the game.”
Higginbotham also bemoaned the shift in attitude towards tackling in the modern game, feeling referees are too quick to stop the game for the slightest infringements and giving players too much protection.
“I want to win every ball I go for, and if you can’t go in with a little bit of force then it’s not football any more. It always seems to be stop-start in games now for the littlest thing, I think referees need to understand that it’s men playing football, there is obviously going to be contact.”
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