Houston: It was a red – but wasn’t malicious

Aaron Muirhead's red card compounded a sore day for Falkirk. Picture Michael Gillen.
Aaron Muirhead's red card compounded a sore day for Falkirk. Picture Michael Gillen.

Peter Houston has no complaints over Aaron Muirhead’s red card in yesterday’s 3-1 defeat to St Mirren.

The defender was sent off midway through the second half for an elbow on Saints defender Stelios Demetriou.

And while Houston has “no complaints” over the decision by referee Don Robertson, he has also defended the Bairn.

The Bairns boss said: “I looked at it again and foolishly he’s jumped with his wrong elbow. Sometimes people jump with their elbow for some leverage, but he’s jumped with his wrong elbow.

“I don’t know if he was scared to clash heads but I wouldn’t argue it. At the end of the day you can’t use elbows, it has landed on the boy and we’ll accept it, but I don’t think it was malicious to try and hurt Stelios in any way.

“When he jumps so awkwardly to try to win a ball over his head he seems to be trying to protect himself a bit, but he’s caught the boy and I can see why it’s a red card.”

Stelios Demitrou says he was left with a bump on his head after the clash.

Stelios Demitrou says he was left with a bump on his head after the clash.

While Houston could see the reasoning behind Muirhead’s red card, he was less excusing of his side’s second half performance.

“It was a nasty one for us,” he said of the game overall.

“We scored early, Rory Loy put one just past, Nathan Austin’s laid in by Rory and should score and then he’s one on one with the goalkeeper and the keeper saves so that could easily have been a game St Mirren are down 4-0 with no chance to get back into it.

“To St Mirren’s credit they battled back and got their goal however if you look again, I can pick people in our side who should do better. They let Stelios in and he’s finished well to be fair to him. At the second goal Robbie Thomson’s not made many mistakes but he has to be held accountable, because it’s not like him and it’s the first bad goal he’s lost since I brought him to the club. The third is a goal kick for us and they’re first onto it and they’ve knocked it beyond us.

Don Robertson showed the defender the red card, after sending off two of the backroom staff in the first half.

Don Robertson showed the defender the red card, after sending off two of the backroom staff in the first half.

“We played as individuals especially in the second half, not as a team.

“We’ve been working hard on team shape and work ethic, but I felt the second half and second goal gave St Mirren that positive energy to go on, they deserved to win and their second half was good.

“We were on the back foot, our discipline was lost and we had a man sent off, it’s a marathon though this league so that’s how I’ll look at it.

“We have to be better and more as a team which we have been in the Betfred four games, but today we were individuals and that has to be stopped.”

Derek Jackson and James Fowler clashed in the technical area just before half-time. Picture Michael Gillen.

Derek Jackson and James Fowler clashed in the technical area just before half-time. Picture Michael Gillen.

Houston also said he didn’t see much wrong with the first-half flashpoint that saw Falkirk keeper coach Derek Jackson, and Buddies’ assistant James Fowler sent to the stand.

The Falkirk boss crossed into the Saints’ technical area while arguing with Fowler and was followed by Jackson, who ended up being grappled by Allan McManus, before being sent to watch the second half from the press box.

Houston added: “I didn’t see any problem. Dugouts fall out all the time.

“He was having a go at the linesman all the time and I said something to him and my goalie coach got involved. It wasn’t really going to come to anything, it happens all the time.”

Match report: here

Post-match stats: here

League table: : SPFL Championship