Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes should not be punished for responding to abuse

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Derek McInnes should not be punished for responding to fans who called him an “orange bastard”.

The Aberdeen manager was sent to the stand during yesterday’s 3-0 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat against Celtic, and told reporters that his red card was for making a gesture to fans who had been singing the “Cheer up Derek McInnes” song.

McInnes should have known better than to react in the manner that he did, and copped to this after the match. He told reporters: “I shouldn’t react and I was wrong to do so. I should be better than that. I’ll take my punishment.

“I’ve heard that song a hundred times aimed at me and I’ve never reacted to it so the frustration maybe from the game has played a part in that. The referee or the fourth official deemed my reaction a red card offence. If it is, it is, and I’ll take my punishment for that.”

 

As refreshing as it was for someone to hold their hands up after being sent off, McInnes should not be expected to apologise. As an experienced manager he’ll be kicking himself for rising to it, but it’s a strange state of affairs when the person who responds to the abuse is supposedly the one in the wrong.

If you’ve been calling someone an ‘orange/fenian bastard’ for 90 minutes, what grounds do you have to be offended by someone making a v-sign or hand-on-arm gesture at you? If someone shouted antisemitic abuse at me and I raised my middle finger at them in response, should I be the one getting arrested?

There was outrage when then-Hibs boss Neil Lennon cupped his ears at Hearts fans in October after they’d spent the entire game shouting abuse at him. Again, it’s baffling that Lennon’s actions were considered by some to be more concerning than those of the people calling him a ‘fenian bastard’ for 90 minutes.



Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes at Hampden

After being sent off, McInnes could be seen beckoning referee Craig Thomson over. Thomson refused, but had he spoken to McInnes the Aberdeen manager would have been able to explain the context of his reaction.

For all we know, McInnes may have been on a last warning due to his haranguing of the referee since Dom Ball’s first-half red card, but if it transpires that McInnes was sent off purely for responding to being called an ‘orange bastard’ the card should be rescinded.

Are ear-cupping, v-flicking and the rest particularly mature reactions? No. Can you take the moral high ground if you’ve been calling the perpetrator an ‘orange/fenian bastard’? Also no.

Derek McInnes should not have to apologise for reacting to it and neither should he be punished for it.

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