Sam Nicholson: Hearts head coach Ian Cathro says player 'acted stupidly'

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Hearts' Sam Nicholson sent off for allegedly spitting in direction of assistant referee

Hearts head coach Ian Cathro admits Sam Nicholson was "foolish" to spit in the direction of an assistant referee in the defeat at St Johnstone.

The winger, 22, was dismissed after appearing to react to Stephen Mitchell's award of a foul throw.

Cathro had said after the game he would review the incident.

"We see and Sam accepts he has been foolish, acted stupidly inside his own frustrations, and has since apologised to his team-mates," Cathro said.

Immediately after the match Cathro appeared to back his player but the Tynecastle outfit decided not to appeal against the red card shown to Nicholson.

And the head coach now accepts his player was guilty of a "stupid, rash action" that made the game more difficult for the Hearts players left on the pitch.

"He has apologised to myself for that," Cathro added. "That situation is completely unacceptable to me because it impacts on the strength of the team.

"That is the responsibility of every player: to make sure they are always adding to the strength of the team and never getting caught in any frustration or moments that lead to us being weaker. That is something we will deal with privately."

Nicholson is banned for the visit of Dundee on Saturday and the trip to Kilmarnock.

And Cathro hopes that the player is now able to put the incident behind him.

"I would also like to add that Sam is a young, talented Scottish player who in this case has been guilty of a foolish, stupid action, but I don't consider he is guilty of any more than that," he added.

"Now, that's bad enough as it is and I would say it's completely unacceptable to himself, to me, to the team, and to the club. However I urge us to not push that any further than what it is."

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