As quoted by the Daily Record, Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom, has spoken out about the apology issued by Steven McLean, to Steven Gerrard.

The referee phoned the Rangers manager after last Friday’s 1-1 draw at Easter Road.

The spoils were shared in the first meeting between these two managers. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

McLean had waved away appeals for a foul on James Tavernier, near the opposition box. With the right-back out of position, Hibs promptly broke up the pitch and scored the equaliser.

The referee initially thought there was no contact, but called the Rangers boss to confess he got it wrong, after reviewing the footage.

“He shouldn’t be doing it, it was foolish”, said Heckingbottom, as quoted by the Daily Record.

“Why was it that specific decision? What about every other decision they get wrong? They’re going to get them wrong and that’s my point.”

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“Listen, if it was a quiet word on the day when you bump into each other in the corridor and he said: ‘Steven I got that one wrong’, we all make mistakes. But to phone someone up? I can’t get my head around it.”

McLean’s well intentioned gesture is under the spotlight. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)


There’s no doubt the standard of decision-making by SPL referees has been particularly bad this season.


In such times, a little accountability is good. All too frequently, costly howlers have been made and no responsibility taken.

However, Heckingbottom does have a point here.

If this is the benchmark, manager’s phones will be ringing up and down the country, all week long.

McLean has opened himself up to suspicion the next time he faces Rangers. Every time they get a decision, others will be questioning if he’s just trying to balance things up.

If this became standard practice, it would create more issues than it would solve.