McFadden stands firm as club challenges red card
Appeal is not gamesmanship – decision was harsh, says Motherwell assistant manager
JAMES McFADDEN, the Motherwell assistant manager, insists the club is right to put its money where its mouth is and challenge Scott McDonald’s contentious red card against Rangers.
The Australian striker was dismissed midway through the first half on Saturday, wiping out Motherwell’s man advantage after Michael O’Halloran’s early bath in the first five minutes. McDonald was ordered off by Willie Collum for a late challenge on Kenny Miller immediately in front of the dug-outs, a decision that was a big contributing factor to the home side eventually going down 2-0.
McFadden was just yards away from the call that his manager Mark McGhee blasted as the wrong decision in the aftermath of Saturday’s early kick-off. As revealed in yesterday’s Herald Sport, Motherwell are appealing the ordering-off to the SFA, meaning the 33-year-old will be in line to feature for McGhee’s team in Dingwall tonight against Ross County.
However, the Fir Park assistant has batted away the notion the challenge – which will cost the Lanarkshire outfit £1,000 if the red is upheld – is being made so McDonald will feature in tonight’s Premiership tie, instead reiterating their belief that their striker deserves to be vindicated.
“I felt at the time the decision was harsh. Scott’s taken a bad touch and then he’s tried to clear the ball rather than go through it and take the man,” said McFadden. “He’s not that sort of player but that’s not what I’m saying – he was just unfortunate that the contact was so close. He hasn’t lunged from a distance because the ball was right in front of him and so we have grounds for an appeal.
“It costs £1,000 for an unsuccessful appeal, so we’re not doing this lightly. We believe Scott was hard done to and there were worse tackles in the game that went unpunished.
“We need him and we want him to play, but we’re not doing this just so he’s available for the Ross County game. The appeal can’t be heard until Thursday, but this isn’t gamesmanship on our part. We believe he’s innocent. People say the referee might have been evening things up because he’d already sent one of their players off but the reaction from their dug-out and the way it looked probably didn’t help Scott.
“It’s hard to say but I don’t want to get into a battle with referees.”
Getting McDonald back in a claret-and-amber jersey at the Global Energy Stadium tonight may not be the motivation behind the appeal, but it is certainly a Brucie bonus for a team in need of three points. Motherwell travel north sitting in the deep south of the Ladbrokes Premiership in 10th place but knowing a win could propel them into the top six.
The tricky Australian played a massive part in sharpening the focal point of the Motherwell attack the previous week at Ibrox in the William Hill Scottish Cup. Adding to his eight goals already earned this season would be handy, too. McFadden is understandably not panicking over Motherwell’s lowly position in the table at the moment, but that doesn’t stop him from understanding the value of a successful jaunt to the Highlands. “I imagine Scott will appear at the appeal because he feels strongly about it ,and we do as well. So, hopefully, we’ll get a positive outcome,” he said.
“Did I watch him discussing it on Sportscene on Sunday? Listen, I hear him often enough at work – I don’t want to put my telly on and hear him at home as well.
“We want to get away from there. We keep saying that our performance levels have been good but a combination of individual mistakes and not getting the luck that you need has hurt us.
“But we need to go on a run. We thought that was going to start at Ibrox last week but it’s up to us to turn things round and the only way to do that is through hard work and determination. We’ll need those qualities in Dingwall because we know County are a tough side, especially up there, but we’ll be ready for it and we’ll give it as much as we can.”
Meanwhile, McFadden also revealed Motherwell are waiting for an answer from Stephen Pearson on a deal to bring him back to Fir Park for a third time. The 34-year-old midfielder has finished a spell in India with Atletico de Kalkata and, as a free agent, can afford to take his time beyond tonight’s transfer deadline to ponder his next move.
“We have offered Stephen a contract and he’s going to take a couple of days to decide,” said the Motherwell assistant. “Stephen scored a lot of goals for us last year and would be a great addition to the squad, the team and the whole club.
“It would be a deal until the end of the season at the minute but I don’t know the ins and outs. He has played at the highest level, he works hard and he’s a fit boy. Stephen scores goals and would be the right type of character for our dressing room.”
It costs £1,000 for an unsuccessful appeal, so we’re not doing this lightly. We believe Scott was hard done to and worse tackles went unpunished
CONTROVERSIAL CALL: Dejection for Motherwell’s Scott McDonald, right, after being shown a red card.
NO WAY THROUGH: Partick Thistle keeper Tomas Cerny has enjoyed a run of four clean sheets.