SFA TO PROBE HAMILTON TUNNEL BRAWL
HAMILTON and Hearts were today bracing themselves for SFA sanctions over the tunnel brawl that ended in four men being sent off in the aftermath of their fiery Clydesdale Bank Premier League game at New Douglas Park.
The SFA this morning confirmed they would “conduct a full investigation” into the events which led to at least a dozen players from both sides becoming involved in a melee as they left the field.
Referee David Somers handed the equivalent of red cards to Hearts players Ian Black (insulting and abusive behaviour), Suso Santana (violent conduct), masseur Alan Robson and unused Hamilton substitute Leon Knight (violent conduct). Hearts defender Eggert Jonsson was also booked for dissent.
Those sanctions were on top of the dismissals of Jambos captain Michael Stewart and defender Ismael Bouzid during what had already been one of the most controversial games of the season.
The tunnel bust-up was witnessed by Somers’ assistant Steven Craven and fourth official Euan Norris, as well as SFA head of administration Richard Simpson.
However, Hamilton goal hero Simon Mensing insisted there was nothing sinister about the trouble that marred the end his side’s 2-1 win.
Mensing grabbed the second goal of the afternoon after James McArthur had given the Accies an early lead and despite Jonsson pulling one back, the hosts held on for a crucial three points that sees them move into 10th in the Scottish Premier League.
“I was one of the first ones up the tunnel,” he said. “It all kicked off behind me and I turned round and there was a big group of players.
“Leon Knight said he got slapped on the back of the neck as he was walking in and he has reacted.
“It has kicked off, but I think a lot of it was handbags. The whole tunnel was full of players but it was more handbags than anything else. These things happen in football.” HEARTS were furious after referee Somers sent off Stewart and Bouzid and denied them a last-minute penalty that would have given them a chance to rescue an unlikely point.
Calum Elliot was bundled over by David Elebert and Mensing feared the worse when he heard the whistle blow.
The midfielder said: “I was pretty far away but from my angle it looked like a penalty. As soon as he went down I just put my head down and thought: ‘You are kidding me’.
“But I looked up and was surprised when the ref gave it the other way.
“I was at the other end of the pitch, but I have heard people say that it maybe should have been a penalty.”
The decision not to award a penalty allowed Hamilton to pick up their second home win of the season thanks to a goal from an unlikely source.
McArthur’s opener was his first strike in a year, though Mensing picked up his fourth of the season.
And the 27-year-old was just as pleased to see his young midfield colleague find the score sheet as he was to extend Accies’ first-half advantage.
With the departure of James McCarthy to Wigan, McArthur has been given licence to get forward more often, forming a good partnership with powerhouse striker Mickael Antoine-Curier.
And his strike has proved that he is capable of being a regular goal-getter for Hamilton, according to Mensing.
“On a personal note it was good to get on the score sheet and if it helps the team get the points, it is all the better,” he said. “James is more than capable of playing further forward and like everyone saw, he can score goals.
“He took his goal well but it was about time he scored, the boys have been ribbing him that he doesn’t score enough, or score at all.
“So it was good to see him get his first of the season and it will boost his confidence.”