Heckingbottom did not realise he had struck assistant referee with bottle

Heckingbottom was shown a red card after complaining about the decisions leading up to Celtic’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw last Saturday.

By Press Association Published: 04 October 2019 - 3.57pm

Sport

Football

Scotland

Hibernian head coach Paul Heckingbottom insists he did not realise he had struck the assistant referee when he was sent off against Celtic.

Heckingbottom was disappointed to be shown a red card after complaining about the decisions leading up to Celtic’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw last Saturday.

But he later realised the water bottle he kicked in frustration had hit off the leg of fourth official Alan Mulvanny.

Heckingbottom described the communication around the delayed free-kick for Celtic as a “farce” and hit out at referee Kevin Clancy for not sending off Olivier Ntcham later in the game.

But he will accept at least some guilt when he faces a misconduct charge at Hampden next week.

“The things I said post-match, as far as I’m aware, were spot-on,” said Heckingbottom ahead of Saturday’s trip to Aberdeen.

“I didn’t realise the bottle I kicked had hit the linesman so I can have no arguments. From that respect I accept it was the wrong thing to do.

“I wasn’t aware of that until it got pointed out to me after the game, so you have to take it on the chin.

“That was part of (the charge) and we’ll see when I go on Thursday.”

Heckingbottom was otherwise largely pleased with what he saw on the pitch from his players as they followed up a shoot-out win over Kilmarnock in the Betfred Cup by becoming the first team to take points off the champions this season.

Now he hopes to see more of the same at Pittodrie as Hibs bid to get out of the bottom two in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

“The determination, the organisation, the willingness to defend properly and the work-rate has been good in the last couple of games,” he said.

“That’s what we have to build on now, because it was the foundations of what we did last season but it’s been too inconsistent this season.

“If we can do that every week we will be fine because we will win more games than we lose.

“I want to know that’s the minimum we are going to get every week.”

One player who cannot be faulted in those departments is Ryan Porteous, who recently returned following more than half a year out of the first team with a knee injury.

The centre-back saw his comeback temporarily halted by a red card after a cynical foul on Kilmarnock’s Liam Millar.

The 20-year-old will return from suspension at Aberdeen before missing the Betfred Cup semi-final against Celtic.

But he insists he will not curb his aggressive approach.

“It was the 118th minute of the game and I saw a chance to stop a counter-attack,” Porteous said. “I don’t regret making the tackle. I probably regret the way I did it. I probably could have just grabbed him.

“A lot of people say I have a reputation of being rash and reckless and at times I do, but in all the games I have played for Edinburgh City and Hibs, that was my only red card.

“I don’t think it was that bad a tackle in terms of endangering a player or going out to hurt him.

“It was a case of bringing him down and I probably could have done it in a better way. But I will learn from it.”