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Mixu Paatelainen still in rage over ‘joke’ derby sending-off

Graham Spiers

Mixu Paatelainen, the Hibernian manager, kept up his withering scorn yesterday over the red card shown to Steven Fletcher by Craig Thomson, the referee, in Sunday’s Edinburgh derby, labelling the decision by the match official “a bloody joke”.

Paatelainen is dicing with an SFA rebuke and fine after Heart of Midlothian’s 2-0 win at Easter Road in the Homecoming Scottish Cup fourth-round tie. The Hibernian manager has already claimed that Christophe Berra, the Hearts captain, “leapt like a brown trout” in order to get Fletcher sent off. Berra, however, yesterday dismissed Paatelainen’s claims as “nonsense”.

Paatelainen’s caustic view of Fletcher’s 35th-minute sending off conflicts with those of most other observers, who feel that the Hibernian striker lunged too aggressively at Berra and probably warranted his red card. But it didn’t stop the burly Finn from keeping up his diatribe.

“Steven showed fantastic spirit and work ethic, and there was nothing malicious in the tackle at all,” Paatelainen said. “He did not go over the ball, and he didn’t go for the leg or the ankle. He went for the ball and his foot was planted before Berra jumped, which made it look very, very bad. The referee was caught by it. Fletcher did not foul him, and as far as I am concerned, it was a bloody joke.”

Over at Tynecastle, Hearts’ postderby euphoria was enhanced yesterday by Andy Driver’s claim that he did not want to leave the club during the January transfer window. The winger said that he wished to remain at Tynecastle for some time.

Driver is one of a number of Hearts players regularly touted for a January sale, but the player has dismissed the notion.

“I won’t be going seeking a transfer,” Driver said. “I’ve got a long contract with Hearts and I’m happy in Edinburgh. I won’t be rushing away.

“I’m just happy winning games in a team that looks like it’s going forward. So until I get told ‘you have to move on’, I don’t want to leave. I’m happy to be here and happy playing with the squad of players we have and the manager we have. Everything is going brilliantly at the moment.”

Meanwhile, it looks as if Derek Riordan, the Hibernian striker, will escape an SFA punishment over a gesture to the Hearts fans while being substituted in the second half of Sunday’s cup tie.

Taken from

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