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‘Respect must be a two-way thing’- Hamilton boss Brian Rice makes referees plea

Celtic v Hamilton Academical – Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Furious Hamilton boss Brian Rice has demanded more respect from referees after hinting at an Easter Road snub from official Craig Napier.

The Accies boss is still simmering over the red-card decision that cost his side dear last time out against Hibernian.

Rice’s team went on to suffer a 2-0 defeat in Leith after having Jamie Hamilton dismissed by Napier for a foul on Martin Boyle.

The sending-off was later overturned after replays showed Hamilton did not make contact with the Hibs forward but that is little consolation to Rice, whose team now find themselves again propping up the Premiership table.

Rice might have been more understanding had he been given a clear explanation by Napier after the game – but 10 days on it seems the Hamilton manager is still waiting to be told exactly what was the thinking behind that costly decision.

“Referees are accountable to whoever they are accountable to,” said Rice ahead of Wednesday’s clash with St Johnstone.

“They are not accountable to us as managers because we don’t get an answer from them.

“It’s a very difficult job and I understand that – but they are well paid.”

Asked if there should be better communication with bosses, Rice responded in combative mood, saying: “What you mean show us a bit of respect and speak to us?

“I think there should be transparency with everything. I get asked questions about performances and team selection.

“So the referees must be accountable to someone and I’m sure they are – but it’s just not to us as managers by explaining decisions.

“Some referees will talk to you and explain the decisions – but a lot won’t and don’t want to get dragged into it.

“It’s a very difficult situation. I’ve not got all the answers.

“I got a response (from Craig Napier after the game at Easter Road) but you cannae print it.

“It’s very frustrating because you can imagine how I’m feeling at the time. We’ve been dealt a blow in the game. I’m standing up for my players and I just want a wee bit of clarity on it but you don’t get a clear answer.

“Respect must be a two-way thing. Referees, their assistants, fourth officials deserve all the respect in the world from myself, my players, my staff but it has to be a two-way thing and I don’t think it always is.”

Rice has no shortage of respect for Callum Davidson’s Betfred Cup winners St Johnstone, who head to the Foys Stadium just three days on from their Hampden triumph over Livingston.

There was muted celebrations for Saints as the Covid-19 crisis put a dampener on their Perth party, but Rice expects to face a team high in spirit.

He said: “I’ve played in teams that have won cups and it spurs you on.

“There is no hangover. It gives you a sense that you want more of that success.

“St Johnstone want to get up the table and into the top six but I have got to concentrate on what we’ve got to do.

“We could move off the bottom and jump a couple of places with a win but we need to put in a strong performance as St Johnstone will be on a high and are playing very well.”