McGhee: there’s no chance I’ll tell players not to dive into tackles

Lee Lucas launches a two-footed tackle against Hamilton Accies' Massimo Donati, a challenge which Mark McGhee says was fully worthy of the subsequent red card awarded to Lucas (Pic by Alan Watson)
Lee Lucas launches a two-footed tackle against Hamilton Accies' Massimo Donati, a challenge which Mark McGhee says was fully worthy of the subsequent red card awarded to Lucas (Pic by Alan Watson)

Motherwell manager Mark McGhee says there is “no chance” of him telling his players to stop diving into tackles, despite three ’Well players getting straight red cards for robust challenges in recent weeks.

Lee Lucas saw red for a challenge on Massimo Donati at Hamilton Accies on December 31, with Scott McDonald getting his marching orders for kicking Rangers’ Kenny Miller on January 28 and Carl McHugh being dismissed for a lunge at Hearts’ Don Cowie on February 4.

But McGhee said: “There is no chance I’ll be telling my players to stop diving in.

“Lee’s was a clumsy, overly robust tackle that deserved a red. It was the challenge of somebody who can’t tackle.

“But the other two weren’t red cards as far as I’m concerned.

“There have been all sorts of other tackles that I’ve seen which have been similar or even more aggressive, yet people haven’t been sent off.

“The game would be destroyed if people stopped tackling.

“Carl McHugh and Keith Lasley wouldn’t be the same players if they didn’t tackle. Lee Lucas would be the same player.”

After losing an appeal against McDonald’s dismissal and two-game ban when an SFA disciplinary panel upheld the red card awarded by referee Willie Collum, Motherwell opted not to appeal the red card against McHugh.

Instead, the club has asked the SFA to clarify what constitutes “excessive force” looked for when referees are issuing red cards, as well as asking an SFA referees chief to explain the ins and outs of this remit in a meeting with players and coaching staff.

“I am totally dissatisfied with the system,” McGhee added.

“We are bamboozled. We don’t know what is a red card and what isn’t.

“There is a grey area between fouling and straight reds that we don’t understand.

“You will never convince me that Scott McDonald deserved a red card.

“You can’t just look at a picture. You have to take evidence of the player himself.

“I don’t care what anybody says, it’s not straightforward.

“If they are not prepared to look at it in all ways then there is no point in us going there.

“I’m 100 per cent convinced that Carl’s was less of a red card than Scotty’s but I don’t think anybody (on the SFA disciplinary panel) would have that view of it or listen to our argument.”

McGhee said that lodging an appeal against McHugh’s red card would have cost Motherwell FC £500.

He added: “If we thought we would get a satisfactory hearing then we would pay the £500. But we don’t feel there is any point.”