Alloa coach and former Rangers player Barry Ferguson has come out and defended his sides aggressive approach against Celtic. Here is what he said exclusively to the Daily Record about Giakoumakis’ comments that the Alloa players ‘crossed the line.’
“It’s absolute nonsense for him or anyone else to suggest I had a game plan to go out and hurt Celtic’s players. I’m actually angry when I see comments like that.
“No way can I stand back and allow people to take a pop at my players. They are not dangerous – they’re just fully committed.
“That’s what I asked them to be because if you sit off a team of Celtic’s quality then they’ll destroy you. So I told my players I needed them to be fully committed and aggressive. But not over aggressive.
“If I felt any of them were out there deliberately trying to hurt an opponent then they wouldn’t be on the pitch. They wouldn’t even be in my squad. I wouldn’t tolerate it – I’d be the first one to pull them up for it if I thought they had it in their makeup, but they don’t.
“What they are is an honest group of players who give 100 per cent – they don’t ever look to endanger an opponent – and I’m disappointed to see what’s been said.
“What were they supposed to do? Roll over for Celtic and give them an easy time?
“No, I asked them to go out there, get in a few faces and bite at a few ankles. Anyone who knows me knows that’s what I was like as a player myself – but at no point would it even have crossed my mind to go out there and deliberately hurt another player.”
“I’ve seen a lot of people saying it should have been a red card and yes, having watched it back, he does catch Ideguchi on the follow through.
“But he also very clearly wins the ball first.
“I feel I’ve got to stick up for Niang here because he’s a lovely big guy with a brilliant attitude. He’s a humble kid who wants to learn and improve. You could see from the game against Celtic that he works hard to win tackles and get in peoples’ faces.
“That’s exactly what I asked him to do. To make it uncomfortable as possible for them and rile them up a wee bit.
“But – and I can’t believe I’m even having to say this – at no stage do I want any player endangering an opponent. So I’ve got to defend Niang because it’s just not right to accuse him of trying to hurt anyone.
“As for the injury to Callum McGregor, no-one likes to see something like that happen.
“But Kingy hasn’t gone in to hurt Callum. I don’t think anyone could argue otherwise. It was just an unfortunate coming together. These things happen in football.
“Unfortunately it looked like a serious injury but there was absolutely no intent or malice on Kingy’s part. The boy doesn’t have a bad bone in his body.
“It was just a case of freak bad luck that Callum turned into his shoulder. To suggest anything else is ridiculous.”
When Ferguson comes out and admits he told his players to be aggressive, get in our faces and bite ankles, how the hell can he be shocked or upset when his players get called out for behaving like thugs?