Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

David Healy: Lafferty’s tackle looked bad, but I am sure he didn’t mean it

Kyle Lafferty

Kyle Lafferty has found himself on the end of a lot of stick this week after last Sunday’s Old Firm derby.

I was lucky enough to be at Parkhead for what was a truly forgettable match but I feel like I should defend the big lad.

Okay, his challenge of Andreas Hinkel wasn’t clever and was badly mis-timed. But that is all it was. Kyle isn’t the sort of player to attempt to hurt someone.

He could easily have been sent off for it and in the high pressure of the Old Firm, maybe cards are flashed quicker than they should be. As a striker, it is important to block the ball with force sometimes but if you get it wrong, more often than not it looks really bad — and this was the perfect example.

I’m no saint; I’ve been in exactly the same position before and it never looks good.

It was perhaps magnified because it was Kyle who worked so hard to win the corner which led to Rangers’ equaliser.

And just on that, what a ball from my mate Steven Davis. It was a difficult afternoon for Davo because he was playing all over the midfield but he delivered when it matters — as always.

Kyle, too, had to play on the right, then the left and he was one of the best defenders on the pitch from set-pieces too. I don’t think he ever gets the credit he deserves but I hope Rangers fans see the best of him between now and the end of the season because he is almost unplayable when he is on top of his game.

Of course Celtic will feel hard done by but failing to win a game they completely dominated will have annoyed them more.

“That’s why we’re champions,” sang the Rangers fans at the final whistle and they are right.

It’s picking up points in games you were never in that can mean the difference between success and failure when the trophies are handed out.

Celtic remain seven points adrift with a game in hand and even though they play each other twice before the curtain comes down, taking two points off them on Sunday might just be what secured another SPL title.

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