ALAN Stubbs reckons that William Hill Scottish Cup victories for his Hibs side and their championship rivals Rangers against Premiership opposition last night proves how much Scottish football needs them both back in the top flight. The Easter Road outfit ran out 1-0 winners in their replay against their city rivals Hearts in a match where both teams finished with ten men, while the Ibrox side booked their quarter final place in their replay against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
“It tells you that we are two very strong teams,” said Stubbs. “I’ve said all along, we are two Premiership teams playing in the Championship. We need to try to get out this division as quickly as possible and I’m sure Rangers do as well. I think the Premiership needs two big clubs like ourselves and Rangers in that mix.”
Both the Hibs boss and his opposite number Robbie Neilson took issue with referee John Beaton’s decision to dismiss two players within two second half minutes for throwing the ball away. First Hearts defender Blazej Augustyn was dismissed for hurling the ball away angrily, albeit in the direction of a foul which had just been awarded against his team, then Cummings – whose third minute goal separated the teams – was given his marching orders for throwing then kicking the ball away. Both men were already on a booking, with Cummings seeing his other caution for celebrating his goal at the Hearts’ end.
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“I think with the first one you always run the risk,” said Stubbs. “I didn’t think he [Cummings] did anything wrong – he was standing there and didn’t make any actions towards their fans. Then with the second one he was booked for booting the ball away, and I’m led to believe that he was actually looking to fetch the ball and never kicked it away. Was there a case for saying the Hearts player influenced the referee? I think there was an element of that. But I thought the sending offs spoilt the game a little bit.”
“I don’t think Blazej’s is a sending off,” said Neilson. “He throws it back in the direction of where the free-kick is. But it’s a decision that’s been made – it’s not going to change by me sitting here speaking about it. We’ve had two goals chalked off and a man sent off. We battled away and kept going, pushing and pushing to try and get a result but we didn’t manage it in the end. The tie for us was probably lost in the last 10 minutes at Tynecastle. Now we need to bounce back.”