Head Coach Brian Rice spoke to the press and our Martin McConnell following the goalless draw against the Buddies……
Would you have taken a point given that you played for so long with ten men?
“We’re getting used to it, we’re getting used to it. I’ll have to phone up on Monday morning and ask the referees supervisor what the new rules are. Because I was at a game a couple of weeks ago and saw two shocking, shocking tackles and there wasn’t even a yellow card. I got a guy sent off today for jumping in to somebody. There was no malice, intent or anything. I’m very unclear about the rules as it stands. You’ll never hear me criticize the referees and I’m speaking for myself here. I don’t know the rules. I’m watching a game, a high profile game with two outrageous tackles. Play on. I’m watching that today and a guy is sent off for nothing. I’m at a loss. It’s me.”
What do manager’s do? Phone John Fleming?
“It’s a waste of time. The referee calls it like he sees it, players call it as they see it. I’m not having a go at anyone. It’s a waste of time having a go. I’m not going to have a go as it’s human error. I think you all know what I’m talking about.”
Do people think that the likes of St. Mirren, Hamilton, Livingston and Ross County get more of these young referees than other teams do?
“I brought this up at a meeting before and I got told that they can’t blood young boys in big games. And I said ‘does that mean that I can’t blood young players in big games?’ Which I don’t get an answer too. You know, the game isn’t about the referees and refereeing decisions. It’s about honesty and the same rules for every single team. At this moment in time I don’t know the rules. I don’t think the rules are the same for everybody.”
Both you and Jim seemed to spend a lot of time speaking to the assistant. Did he shed any light on things?
“I just asked him what side the referee was on because he got more touches than anybody else today.”
You’re side reacted brilliantly to the sending off though.
“Fantastic, fantastic. I can’t ask more from the lads out there today. Of course we were down to ten men again today and St. Mirren attacked in waves against us. I felt strong and didn’t think that the ‘keeper had many saves to make today. He had one save towards the end. We came here towards the end if last season and had a man sent off then funnily enough. We lost 2-0. We had a man sent off today and drew nothing each. So we’re making progress in that area.”
I know that you don’t like singling players out but Easton and Stubbs were terrific today.
“Immense, immense. Anything that came in to the box they won their headers. They’re proper defenders and they both like to defend.”
Stubbs is older than he looks in the way that he acts.
“Yes, you can see that he comes from a footballing family and been brought up watching a class defender in his dad.”
He knows how to talk as well.
“Yes, he’s a very good talker. That’s what attracted me to him when I first saw him. I watched him play down at Middlesbrough 23’s. You could hear him as there’s very little crowd at those games. I heard him and that’s what drew my attention to him. But I’m delighted with them all today. Scott McMann’s got an eye out to here, which I don’t know if any of you saw, I didn’t see it. But he’s got an eye out to here and the boy has got a yellow. I don’t know if it was a yellow. I’m at a complete loss, I’m at a complete loss to what the rules are at the minute.”
Even if you’d kept eleven on, would you have been happy with the point?
“No, no. I said to the boys that they would get great praise for getting a point against eleven men. Except for the Old Firm when you’re happy to take a point at any stage, the rest of the games you’ve got to go out and try to win. In the first half we didn’t do enough to win the game. We were just getting a foot in the game when the incident with George occurred. Now I don’t know if it was a second yellow card then a red. It may well be. I’m not going to dispute the fact that he got sent off. I’m disputing the fact that I go to other games and seeing tackles that are scandalous and they keep getting away with them. Everybody is talking about it. Managers, players and other clubs are talking about it and it’s just not a level playing field.”