London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Srce <-Type Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies <-auth Jim Reynolds auth-> MF Pocock
Berry Neil Locke Gary [D Lennon pen 28]
1 of 001 John Robertson 53 L Premier A

Robbo puts himself on the line


11 Dec 1995

HEARTS and Scotland striker John Robertson, whose stunning second-half strike against Raith Rovers at Stark's Park on Saturday gave the Tynecastle side a share of the points, has launched a scathing attack on match referee Mike Pocock, of Aberdeen.

He almost certainly will land himself in trouble with the SFA.

There was little doubt about the mood among the Hearts players following the premier division match in Fife - they were fuming after having seen central defender Neil Berry sent off in the first half, then captain Gary Locke being red carded in the later stages of the match.

There were also five bookings and areas of high controversy in a game where both sides were desperate for victory following recent lapses.

The sendings off left Hearts to battle on with nine men, but there were other complaints from the Edinburgh side.

They wanted to know why the referee sent Berry off in the first half and awarded a penalty for a foul on Raith striker Steve Crawford, then, in a similar incident shortly after half-time, he only booked Raith's new boy Mark Humphries.

Then, after apparently awarding a penalty, he consulted his stand side linesman and gave a free kick outside the box.

The fact that Robertson scored direct from the free kick obviously delighted Hearts, but did not appease them for what they felt was shoddy treatment from the officials.

There were mutterings and glares among the Hearts contingent in the corridors of Stark's Park as they headed for home, but Robertson, a man of high intelligence who is not prone to run off at the mouth, decided to speak out.

He said: "It seems as if everybody has been preaching to the players for the past month or so about how they must behave themselves on the field, and show a more responsible attitude.

"Okay, I'll accept that.

But, on the other hand, you must have more consistency from referees.

"That's only fair to everybody, including the most important people, the fans.

"Out there today, there were two separate, but similar, incidents in the same area of the pitch, yet the referee gave four different decisions - a red card and a penalty against us, then a yellow card for the Raith player and a free kick to us.

"Neil Berry thought his tackle was outside the box and I know that when I was fouled by Mark Humphries, he was the last Raith player between myself and goal.

Yes, you could say we are angry.

"You don't need me to tell you that is inconsistency at the highest level.

If ever there was a case for players having cause to lose the rag, that was it.

"There wasn't a dirty tackle in the game, yet look at the crime count.

I don't know if I'll get into trouble with the SFA, but this had to be said." Hearts manager Jim Jefferies, who had heated words with referee Pocock as the players left the field at the interval, also found it difficult to mute his words after the match, but he did manage to do that.

"I've got to be careful in what I say," he remarked.

"But there is no way I'll be fining Neil Berry or Gary Locke for being sent off.

"Neil tried to make a genuine tackle and the incident with Gary and Tony Rougier was just a collision between two strong boys fighting for the ball." I can well understand Hearts frustration at the way the referee handled the two incidents which led to both goals.

Robertson and company must have felt they were the victims, but we will never know if their thinking was justified.

After all, Mike Pocock and his fellow referees are actively discouraged by the SFA from explaining their actions.

Taken from the Herald

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