Belfast Telegraph

I didn't mean to disrespect armband: Cliftonville's McGovern

By Conor McLaughlin

Cliftonville defender Jaimie McGovern has admitted that throwing the captain's armband to the ground was "stupid" but insists he did not mean any disrespect in the aftermath of his dismissal on Saturday.

The 27-year-old was sent off following an altercation with Coleraine youngster Saul McCaughan and threw the armband - which he was wearing in the absence of skipper Jason McGuinness and regular deputies Ryan Catney and Chris Curran - away as he headed for the dressing room.

Having been criticised by Reds supporters for his actions, McGovern explained: "There certainly wasn't any disrespect meant, although I can see how it looks that way.

"Every time I've worn the armband, it's been an honour for me but I've never been in a situation like that where I've been sent off while wearing it and, to be honest, I probably wasn't thinking straight.

"If you're substituted, you hand it over to someone when you're on your way off but this was different. I had been shocked to get sent off in the first place and, after things had died down, I was on my way off when I suddenly remembered I was wearing it. I didn't know whether to turn round and walk right back up the pitch and give it to Eamonn Seydak and it was just one of those heat of the moment things. I took it off in anger and frustration, it was a stupid thing to do but it certainly wasn't meant as any disrespect towards the captaincy, the club or the fans."

McGovern also felt referee Arnold Hunter's decision to send him off was harsh and took exception to accusations that he had swung an elbow at Coleraine substitute McCaughan.

"I'm not that sort of player, I don't do things like that and my record shows you that," he added.

"The ball was going out for a throw-in to us and I was wary he was going to nick round me and keep it in, so I've lowered my centre of gravity and pushed towards him.

"It's obstruction more than anything else and if you look at the TV footage, the collision happens at the hips and shoulders.

"Looking back, about 20 or 30 minutes into the game, myself and Eoin Bradley had been involved in something similar. The difference here I suppose was the young lad was smaller and lighter, so the impact and the way he's fallen haven't helped me - but there was no elbow.

"I've been accused of trying to hurt him but that's absolutely not the case. When I see it on TV, yes, maybe I could have just let the ball go out but, in the moment itself, you just do what your instincts tell you."

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