London Hearts Supporters Club

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Craig Levein <-auth Paul Kiddie auth-> Kenny Clark
[H Camara 41] ;[J Giroldo) 56] ;[J Hartson 82]
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Pressley hits out at officials


FURIOUS Hearts skipper Steven Pressley today claimed Celtic’s opening goal in the champions’ 3-0 victory at Parkhead was offside.

The 31-year-old insisted officials weren’t "brave" enough to rule out Henri Camara’s effort, the front man smashing home John Hartson’s knockdown four minutes from the interval to end stubborn resistance from the visitors and pave the way for a comfortable triumph.

The Hearts players were convinced that the big Welshman was in an offside position as he moved on to Chris Sutton’s chip before chesting the ball into the path of his strike partner, their pleas ignored by referee Kenny Clark and stand side assistant Tom Murphy. Murphy, in fact, had earlier incensed Jambos boss Craig Levein by failing to flag for at least two similar decisions, the irate Tynecastle chief having to be ushered back to his technical area on a handful of occasions by harassed fourth official Steve Conroy.

The lively Camara did have a 19th-minute header from Stilian Petrov’s free-kick chalked off but it was the officials’ failure to rule out the front man’s later effort which prompted the normally reserved Pressley to speak out.

"We tried to hold a very brave and good line at their first goal and I am convinced it was offside," he said. "You have got to be brave as a team when you play at Parkhead but if we are going to be brave and defend in that manner then we need the officials to be brave as well.

"I think the linesman got the first goal wrong and it was very frustrating as we’d held a very good line on the 18-yard line. You have got to be that way at Parkhead but you also need the officials to be brave and make the right decisions.

"I don’t think they did that and we were then on the back foot which was very disappointing as we hadn’t been in too much trouble until then."

Juninho scored his first goal for the hosts since his move from Middlesbrough to double his side’s advantage in the second half.

Scotland star Pressley then missed a golden opportunity to throw his side a lifeline when he hit a post with a penalty 21 minutes from time - his first competitive miss from the spot - and John Hartson added to the Hearts skipper’s woe when he headed home No.3 just 12 minutes later.

"It was disappointing to miss the penalty as scoring at that stage would have made Celtic nervous," said Pressley.

"They would have been defending a slender lead and we could have then put them under some real pressure in a bid to take something from the match. But it wasn’t to be."

Taken from the Scotsman

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