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<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Stuart Bathgate auth-> Calum Murray
9 of 023 ----- L SPL H

No discipline issues at Hearts, says Laszlo

HEARTS manager Csaba Laszlo has insisted that there is no disciplinary problem at Tynecastle – as the club published a strong protest about the decision by referee Iain Brines to dismiss Marius Zaliukas's appeal against his sending-off at Aberdeen last Saturday.
Laszlo, who also said he was sure his team would avoid any further red cards in Saturday's Edinburgh derby after seven already this campaign, claimed that Hearts' poor record in previous seasons could still be influencing officials. Certainly the club feel Brines' decision was a miscarriage of justice, and a spokesman questioned the disciplinary procedure which allows a referee to review his own decision and decree himself to have been correct.

"We are dismayed and angered by this decision," the spokesman said. "It is a complete injustice as there can be no argument to suggest that Zaliukas struck, or even intended to strike, the Aberdeen player (Lee Miller].

"We don't believe in an appeal system that dictates that the appeal decision should be left solely with the referee, as is the case at present. We understand that this is also a view shared by some other clubs.

"We are hugely supportive of the job that referees have to do, often in difficult circumstances. However, in our opinion, a mistake has been made and it is important that when mistakes are made they are acknowledged and we can all move on.

"That is why we are extremely disappointed that Mr Brines will not find it in himself to acknowledge a mistake that the TV cameras prove to be the case."

Brines showed Zaliukas a red card for violent conduct after he had been involved in a minor clash of heads with Miller. Television footage appeared to show there was more movement by Miller towards his opponent than vice versa, but last night the Scottish Football Association (SFA) said Brines was sure he had called it correctly.

"Heart of Midlothian's claim of wrongful dismissal in respect of the sending off of their player Marius Zaliukas in the match against Aberdeen has been dismissed, following a review by referee Iain Brines," an SFA statement read.

"Having re-examined the circumstances of the player's sending-off, the referee indicated that he is content with his decision and, in accordance with the disciplinary procedures, the claim is dismissed automatically.

"Zaliukas is therefore suspended for Heart of Midlothian's next match against Hibernian on 3 January. The player has also incurred a two-match fixed suspension with effect from 10 January as a result of his breaching of the 18-point disciplinary threshold."

Hearts now have no other avenue of protesting against the decision. As a result, both Zaliukas and Lee Wallace, who was shown a red card after the final whistle, will be banned from the home game against Hibernian on Saturday. Zaliukas will also miss out on the Scottish Cup game against Hibs on 11 January.

Hearts were fined by the SFA at the end of last season for poor discipline, and those two sendings-off against Aberdeen were the latest in a string of dismissals this campaign. But Laszlo suggested that the poor record from last and previous seasons might predispose match officials into expecting the worst of his players.

"I don't think at the moment we have a problem," he said. "I don't see any big problem in this direction.

"Other teams have red and yellow cards. In the past, this club maybe had some problems. If you do something and get a red card or yellow card now, everyone drags that up and says: 'Oh, Hearts have a problem again.'

"There is a preconception about Hearts. If you count everything together, it's not only Heart of Midlothian who get red or yellow cards."

Looking back to the Aberdeen game, Laszlo voiced his sympathy for Zaliukas and to an extent for Robbie Neilson, who was involved in a post-match dispute. The manager also said he had talked the matter through with Wallace – a method he prefers to fining players. By suggesting that his players had to learn from such events, however, he was at least implicitly accepting that they could do more to control their emotions.

"When you saw the Zaliukas incident on Setanta, it was an unfortunate decision, because you saw the player was not aggressive," he suggested. "Robbie is a very honest and very experienced player. If you are provoked you must take a little bit back.

"Maybe it was the wrong emotion from Lee, but I don't think (issuing fines] is the best way to learn. Money may be powerful for a player, but I think this way he doesn't learn anything. I explained to Lee – we had a discussion, I told him my opinion, then we went out to training. Then after it he said 'Coach, sorry, you were right'."

Laszlo is convinced his players have learned their lesson, to the extent they will not repeat those mistakes in Saturday's match against Hibs . "I'm confident we won't get a red card," he added. "I don't think the intention is there to get a red card. Definitely not."

Taken from the Scotsman

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