Stu Takes His Punishment

Stuart Pearce describes his sending off against Everton as being down to "amateurish play."

He was sent off for a foul in the box on debutant Tony Hibbert just before half time, having just earlier being booked for catching Duncan Ferguson in midfield, and he admits:

"I deserved to get sent off, it is as simple as that; I caught Ferguson a few minutes before.

"Then the ball bounced up on the side of the box and I thought I could get a taclke in, and the lad has nicked it away from me beforehand.

"The refereee deemed that a foul, and if he does, you've got to be honest enough, hold your hands up, and say I deserved to get sent off and it was a penalty.

"No one tries to foul anyone in the box unless they have got half a brain.

"I'm disappointed - I gave away a free kick the week before which cost us the game and that probably cost us the points as well."

Stuart, who says it was two yellows rather than a straight red, adds:

"There'd been a few tackles before the yellow and the ref had been fairly lenient and not done anything.

"I caught the back of Ferguson's heel when he nicked it away from me, and he deemed that a booking.

"It's a bit harsh if you get sent off straight afterwards basically but that is my amateurish play rather than the ref.

"He didn't have to say too much to me; he saw it as two bookable offences and you go off from there.

"It's irrelevant what he said; it's down to bad play from myself that's got me sent off."

He says he spoke briefly to the other players at half time, adding:

"I just wished the lads all the best and hoped they could turn it round and get us out of a bit of lumber.

"We're up against it now and we've got to show a bit of character.

"We can't win a game for love nor money but most of the results below us went our way, except Coventry."

It is a telling comment from Stuart which shows that the players are starting to look over their shoulders somewhat.

Walter Smith, whose team drew level on points after the win, says they are still not safe, while harry says he'd "have to put a tin helmet on" if he can't pick up a couple of points from the remaining seven games.

Stuart, however, is taking nothing for granted and says:

"It's important that we get a win and make it irrelevant what the others do.

"We've got to be aware of the situation; we're only eight points from safety at the moment.

"A bad result next weekend and good results from other teams below us and it gets very very tight.

"We're not going to kid ourselves and say we've got enough points in the bag - we haven't."