I understand managers who want to defend their players. I admire it even, because that’s what you are meant to do when one of them is under the spotlight.
But there’s a difference between standing by your footballers and making excuses for them when they cross the line, as Devante Cole did today.
Stephen Robinson is kidding himself on tonight if he’s claiming that his player didn’t deserve the red card for his vicious knee high, studs up, lunge on Jeremie Frimpong earlier.
If that tackle had been made on one of his players – by Scott Brown, say – he would have been outraged and demanding long bans and maybe even a trial at The Hague.
It was a ridiculous challenge, one that could have done serious damage, and our player is fortunate that a ligament injury is the extent of it.
We don’t even know how bad that might prove to be, but when you watch the impact you realise it could have been worse. If our boy Frimpong had been stretched off the pitch today – and I thought he might be at first – it would not have been a surprise.
I honestly cannot believe Robinson believes that was a legitimate attempt to go for the ball.
All he had to do tonight was say that “Yeah, we thought he was a little reckless, but the referee has given him a pass” and the issue would have been put to bed.
But he’s going to have a hard job maintaining the high ground the next time one of his own footballers goes down under a strong one.
If he’s defending that he’s offering his own footballers no protection at all, because if that’s playing by the rules anything goes.