Old­est swinger in town

The Scotsman - - Front Page - aN­guS HoWartH

For­mer Scot­land man­ager Craig Brown, now 70, has ad­mit­ted throw­ing a punch at a di­rec­tor of the Dan­ish club Odense dur­ing Mother­well’s Europa League de­feat.

HE IS one of the most se­nior fig­ures in Scot­tish foot­ball with a rep­u­ta­tion as an ar­tic­u­late, level­headed and peace­able man.

But the for­mer man­ager of the Scot­land na­tional team, Craig Brown, proved that he still had some fight in him when the 70-year-old yes­ter­day ad­mit­ted that he punched an of­fi­cial from an op­pos­ing team on the touch­line.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened af­ter his cur­rent club Mother­well were awarded a late penalty dur- ing their 1-0 sec­ond-leg de­feat by Dan­ish side Odense at Fir Park on Thurs­day night.

Kim Brink, one of the vis­it­ing team’s di­rec­tors, was seen to barge into Mr Brown, send­ing him off bal­ance.

Mr Brown re­sponded with what he de­scribed as a “re­tal­ia­tory punch”.

Mr Brink was es­corted away from the tech­ni­cal area by a chief stew­ard, who later iden­ti­fied him through a pho­to­graph as the Odense di­rec­tor.

Speak­ing af­ter the match, Mr Brown was un­apolo­getic say­ing that he had acted in self-de­fence: “I think it was their sport­ing di­rec­tor that got a bit car­ried away.

“I don’t know why but he came to our dugout. We had a wee bit of a dis­agree­ment, putting it eu­phemisti­cally.

“I got a shove and I had a re­tal­ia­tory punch. I’m a calm guy but if any­one is old enough to re­mem­ber when I played the game, I was ac­cused of be­ing quite ag­gres­sive.

“I don’t want to get messed about and I wasn’t go­ing to be messed about.”

He said po­lice spoke to both man­agers af­ter­wards. “They are tak­ing no fur­ther ac­tion and he has apol­o­gised,” he said.

“He said it was un­char­ac­ter­is­tic and the po­lice thought it was not be­hav­iour be­fit­ting a vis­it­ing of­fi­cial.

“They asked me if I wanted to take the thing any fur­ther and I said no. You want to keep these things in foot­ball and, any­way, it could have been the other way around.”

Speak­ing to The Scots­man last night about the in­ci­dent, Mr Brown did his best to play down the in­ci­dent. He said: “There was noth­ing to re­port, there was no in­ci­dent of any con­se­quence at all. It was a storm in a tea cup.”

On Mother­well fans’ fo­rums yes­ter­day, the in­ci­dent proved a mi­nor flash­point af­ter an evening of dis­ap­point­ment.

Most sup­port­ers ap­peared be­mused by the in­ci­dent. On Fir­park.com, “derek1885” of­fered the fol­low­ing ob­ser­va­tion: “The di­rec­tor pushed Brown, got sent to the stand then ap­plauded his team’s time-wast­ing at the penalty and then went down the stairs.”

Mean­while, on steel­menon­line.co.uk, one fan by the name of “pep­per” laughed off the rum­pus, com­ment­ing: “Only Mother­well could have a fight­ing pen­sioner as a man­ager!”

Iron­i­cally, the in­ci­dent took place on the same day that the Mother­well man­ager took part in the launch of the Scot­tish Govern­ment’s Steps for Stress Cam­paign, which aims to help peo­ple cut the amount of stress in their lives and the at­ten­dant prob­lems that come with it.

Mr Brown, how­ever, de­nied he was stress-prone, stat­ing: “I’m not in the least stressed at any time. I’m the calmest, least stressed guy you could ever meet.”

nei­ther Mother­well or Odense foot­ball clubs were avail­able for com­ment.

Pic­ture: Jeff Holmes

Ex-Scot­land boss Craig Brown con­fronts Dan­ish di­rec­tor Kim Brink dur­ing a heated moment at Mother­well’s Fir Park on Thurs­day night

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