London Hearts Supporters Club

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John Robertson <-auth Phil Gordon auth-> Hugh Dallas
Mikoliunas Saulius [I Novo 49] ;[F Ricksen pen 94] Dado Prso
13 of 048 Mark Burchill 87 L SPL H

Hearts apologise but expect heavy penalty after fracas

By Phil Gordon
HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN and their player, Saulius Mikoliunas, could feel the force of a heavy punishment from the Scottish Football Association over the scenes that tarnished the end of their controversial Bank of Scotland Premierleague defeat to Rangers on Wednesday night.

The Edinburgh club seem certain to be in trouble over missiles that were thrown at Hugh Dallas, the referee, as he walked off after the match while Mikoliunas faces a lengthy suspension for barging Andy Davis, the assistant referee who made the penalty decision that prompted the angry scenes at Tynecastle.

Hearts will send written apologies to the Scottish Premier League, as well as Dallas and Davis, for the actions of their supporters and Mikoliunas, who was dismissed for a rush of blood that echoed David Prutton’s indiscretion last weekend which earned the Southampton player a ten-game ban from the Football Association.

Lothian and Borders police confirmed yesterday that they had made an arrest for coin throwing at the match, which was decided by Fernando Ricksen’s injury-time penalty. George Foulkes, the Hearts chairman, acknowledged the rancour was “unacceptable”.

The SFA will wait until it receives Dallas’s written report this morning before deciding on a course of action. Hearts could be fined for the misconduct of their supporters but Mikoliunas must fear that his own rash actions will incur a cost similar to Prutton’s, though there is no guarantee that it will be the same, according to a source among Scotland’s top-listed referees. “The SFA does not have a tariff for an incident of this nature, simply because it is a very unusual event in our game,” the source told The Times.

The only recent case with any parallels was the three-match ban handed out to Ian Wright in his brief spell with Celtic in 1999-2000 for pushing Willie Young, the fourth official, in the tunnel after a match at Kilmarnock.

Mikoliunas’s actions, though, were much more visible. The SFA’s video review panel is likely to inspect the incident, though Hearts tried to offer mitigating circumstances for the actions of the 20-year-old Lithuania player who only came to the club in January.

“On behalf of the club, I, as chairman, wish to apologise sincerely and unconditionally to the officials at last night’s match for any incident which may have caused them alarm or distress,” Foulkes said.

“While I understand the fans’ frustrations at what appeared to be an unfair decision, there is never any excuse for threats or intimidation or any action which could cause danger.”

Dado Prso, of Rangers, was also sent off the mêlée that erupted after Davis judged that Lee Miller had fouled Sotirios Kyrgiakos in the box, a decision that television showed was crucially flawed. Mikoliunas ran to confront the referee’s assistant and was given an instant red card by Dallas and is believed to have been given a second one for swearing at the referee.

“Saulius is an exceptional young man who is making his way in a new career in a new country and he has made a terrific impact on the footballing staff at the club,” Foulkes said. “However, his actions and the manner of his approach to Mr Davis — whilst totally out of character — were also totally unacceptable to the club.

“The club believes that whilst there was intent on behalf of the player to confront Mr Davis, he allowed himself to be caught up in the emotion of the occasion and his momentum caused him to make contact with the official.”

John Robertson, the Hearts head coach, who struggled to hang on to his own temper after watching his team stripped of a point that could impact on their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Uefa Cup, believes Mikoliunas deserves some clemency.

“People have got to take into account why he was incensed, why 12,000 Hearts fans were incensed,” Robertson said. “He is a young lad and I feel there are mitigating circumstances. We had worked hard and were left incensed about a decision which will be shown to be very harsh.”

Prso will miss Rangers’ match against Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday.

Taken from

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