Officials apologise to Butcher for offside blunder

TERRY Butcher has received personal apologies from two officials for the incorrect decision that cost his team a goal in Sunday’s Edinburgh derby.
Terry Butcher: Received apology from officials. Picture: Robert PerryTerry Butcher: Received apology from officials. Picture: Robert Perry
Terry Butcher: Received apology from officials. Picture: Robert Perry

The Hibernian manager revealed yesterday that assistant referee Ally Ross and SFA head of referee development John Fleming had been in touch to say sorry about the offside flag that led to Jordon Forster’s header being chalked off.

Hibs were a goal down at the time of the incident, eight minutes from the end of the match, and replays showed that Forster was onside by some way. Hearts went on to win the game 2-0 to deny their rivals the chance to confirm their relegation from the Premiership. “I got a text message from the linesman, Ally Ross, and from John Fleming, to say that it wasn’t the right decision, that it was a poor decision and they apologised,” Butcher said. “So that was tremendous. I don’t think I’ve ever had that before. It’s very nice, very good.

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“It doesn’t make you feel better, but that’s the way it goes. I’ve got no axe to grind. I texted back. But it was really nice to get an apology. I speak to John Fleming and he sometimes speaks to me in terms of what the referees do, but in this case he said ‘I have no arguments’ and that’s fair enough’.”

Butcher does not believe that technology or replays should be used in the case of such incidents, instead preferring to accept that officials, like players, can make mistakes. “People say you can use technology and stop the game, but we’ll end up like American football, stop-start. Incidents like that are just human decisions, human opinions, and human errors sometimes – and you have to accept that. That’s the beauty of the game.”