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Alleged spitting incident sees tempers flare in Sky Blues clash against Rangers Colts

Eros Grezda of Rangers. Credit: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Eros Grezda of Rangers. Credit: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

David Jeffrey says Ballymena United have drawn a line under an alleged spitting incident which marred the Sky Blues’ midweek Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup match with Rangers Colts.

Tempers flared during the second half of the game – which the Ibrox youngsters won 1-0 – after claims that a visiting player spat in the direction of a United player.

The alleged incident wasn’t spotted by match officials but the final quarter of the game was an ill-disciplined encounter, eventually settled by Serge Atayaki’s late goal for the Scottish side.

United boss Jeffrey said senior Rangers player Greg Docherty – who was not involved in the alleged spitting incident – had visited the home changing room afterwards to apologise.

Jeffrey said afterwards: “There were things that happened that I don’t really want to talk about but we received an apology from Rangers.

“Let’s just say there were incidents there which are not typical of an association with Rangers.

“Greg Docherty came in and apologised and as far as I’m concerned, that’s the matter closed,” added Jeffrey, who admitted afterwards that he had no chance of persuading evergreen skipper Jim Ervin to sit out the game.

Ballymena fielded a number of first team fringe players but 34-year-old Ervin – a diehard ‘Gers fan – took his place in the starting line-up and produced a typically accomplished display at the heart of the United defence.

“I had a conversation with Jim at the weekend – if I had left him out against Rangers he would have been apoplectic!” laughed Jeffrey.

“We discuss how we might best manage situations and on this occasion, I agreed with him that he should play!

“His reading of the game is absolutely phenomenal and his leadership is tremendous,” added Jeffrey.

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