Houston: I wasn’t disrespecting Dumbarton

Peter Houston says his comments have been misinterpreted by Stevie Aitken
Peter Houston says his comments have been misinterpreted by Stevie Aitken

Peter Houston has defended his comments which provoked an angry response from Dumbarton boss Stevie Aitken this week.

The Bairns boss spoke before Hibs played Dumbarton and has been criticised by both the Sons boss and Alan Stubbs.

However the Bairns boss denied any disrespect to Dumbarton who sealed their own Championship status last Saturday.

“If Stevie had a problem, he should have lifted the phone because I’d never be disrespectful to another team.

“We’re not in second place because we’re hoping other teams do us a favour. We’re here because we’ve done ourselves a favour, won matches, lost fewer matches in the league than anyone.

“We don’t rely on anyone. I wouldn’t suggest Dumbarton down tools but what I’d say is players do switch off a bit mentally.

“A prime example of what I’m trying to say is Rangers. They were sensational in the league this year and won it. Hearts started losing once they won the league last year – not because the opposition started to get better, it’s because players, in their head, switch off a wee bit. Mark Warburton has had a go at his players for that reason – he wants to kep them firing.

“Dumbarton have guaranteed their Championship place next season and that will be a huge relief to the management and players down at Dumbarton. I said football teams, when they reach their goal that they are targetting for, can mentally switch off a bit.

“I didn’t mean any disrespect to Dumbarton and if he had an issue, he should have picked up the phone.”

Hibs won the midweek match 4-0 to move level on points with the Bairns ahead of Sunday’s second-place showdown. Falkirk play Morton while Queen of the South head to Easter Road.

The Bairns boss denied the bickering bosses was indicative of the pressure point of the season and emphasised how calm he was.

“I was on the Old Course (on the players’ day off) this week. I am not worried about Sunday, but we will be playing a right good side who gave us one of our hardest matches this season and Jim Duffy – one of my old managers – will have them fired up.”