Peter Houston understands why fans were so upset at his decision to replace Tom Taiwo in the second half of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Morton.
The substitution was greeted with audible booing from many sections of the home support as the English midfielder was replaced by James Craigen with 15 minutes to go.
Supporters subsequently went on to criticise the move on social media and sponsors even made a statement of their own by awarding their man of the match nomination to the substituted Taiwo.
Houston can see where the fans were coming from, but stood by his change.
He said: “There comes a time when it’s 15 minutes to go and, do you want to go in or are you happy with a 0-0?
“We watched the game again (on Monday) and Tom won three or four sliding tackles and fans love that, I understand that. Fans love someone who grafts like that.
“They wanted Kerrzo off but if we take him off we lose discipline in there. We lose people running off midfielders, and Mark Kerr doesn’t allow that. His experience is fantastic.
“The easiest thing would have been for me to appease the fans and take Kerrzo off and move Tom into the middle, but that would have upset our balance. Sibbs likes Kerr beside him and he gives Sibbs a licence to go forward.”
Fans agreed with the sponsors with more than 90 per cent of voters in this week’s Falkirk Herald Starshot vote opting for the ex-Chelsea, Leeds and Hibs midfielder.
And Houston agreed Taiwo had a good game and revealed he was pleased that the champagne went to him.
The boss added: “Tom wasn’t having a bad game, and I’m so happy he got the man of the match but with 15 to go do we go with a bit of creativity which [James Craigen] has in abundance to maybe win the match or do we just stick in dogged in there? James nearly scored when he came on and if he had the change would have been justified.
“You don’t make substitutions to lose a goal, you do them to change something to get you a goal.
“I understand the booing from the punters but it’s my decision.
“Managers get praise when they’re doing well, and criticism when it’s not – it is part and parcel of the job.
“Mark Warburton gets it, Brendan Rodgers will get it, Derek McInnes has had it and I’ve had it myself in the past. It’s water off a duck’s back because I’m making substitutions to win the match. I don’t make substitutions to lose games.
“I’ve stuck by Tom a lot when he hasn’t been playing well, and the person who understands most what I was trying to do, was Tom.
“He’s not questioned it and he wouldn’t because he’s a great boy.”
Taiwo admits he was bemused by the boos too!
“I thought they were booing me coming off! I thought they were saying ‘Get him off’.
“It’s nice. The player that I am sometimes you don’t really get the accolades that the forward players do and rightly so, they score the goals and win the games. Sometimes it’s nice to feel appreciated and I certainly felt that on Saturday.”