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I bore no malice in the clash that saw me hit with big ban: McNair

 

In the cold: Paddy McNair will miss Boro’s festive fixtures
In the cold: Paddy McNair will miss Boro’s festive fixtures

By Robert Jones

Paddy McNair has pleaded his innocence after his controversial red card at Swansea.

The Northern Ireland midfielder will miss the crucial Christmas fixtures against Michael O'Neill's Stoke City, Huddersfield Town and West Brom after Boro's appeal against his sending off at the Liberty Stadium was rejected by the FA.

McNair was dismissed following a collision with Matt Grimes and he revealed that he made a point of speaking to the City skipper after the game.

He said: "At the time I know I'm a little bit late on the tackle and I've gone in with my foot, and (with) my momentum my elbow has sort of caught him.

"I went and spoke to the lad after the game - I know him well - because when I saw the replay I thought it looked worse than I thought it was on the pitch.

"I think you can tell by my reaction when he sent me off that I couldn't believe it at the time.

"I went to see him after the game and said, 'Look, I know how it might look but it's definitely not what I meant to do'."

The referee's post-match report confirmed that McNair was dismissed for kicking out at Grimes but the 24-year-old says he didn't make contact with the City player.

"I got sent off for a stamp but I've watched it back and I've not really touched him with my feet," he added.

Now Boro have to try and pick up maximum home points against fellow strugglers Stoke tonight and Huddersfield before travelling to leaders West Brom without McNair, who's arguably been the club's best outfield players so far this season.

He said: "They are all big games, they are all Premier League teams in the Championship like ourselves.

"We're not where we want to be, we haven't picked up as many wins as we would have liked this season, we've drawn too many games, there are teams around the play-offs who have lost as many games as we have, so I think if we can turn those draws into wins we'll be fine."

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