Rangers defender Sebastien Faure has accused Airdrie manager Gary Bollan of instigating the altercation with Bilel Mohsni after the final whistle.
Faure told Stephen Halliday of The Scotsman, “The Airdrie manager pushed me and pushed Bilel too. Bilel was very angry.”
“Bilel was very angry. Both the Airdrie striker [Jim Lister] and manager went to Bilel after the final whistle. He then got a second yellow card in the referee’s room and I don’t understand why.”
Bollan & Lister were incensed by Mohsni’s flop upon contact in the waning minutes of Thursday’s match. Mohnsi was employing a classic time-wasting tactic in an attempt to milk the clock at the end of Rangers 1-0 victory.
Mohsni was clearly frustrated by Airdrie’s physical play throughout the match & responded to the altercation. Mohsni was seen on TV being restrained by his teammates & it was obvious that the situation was getting out of hand.
Faure elaborated, “For me, Airdrie were aggressive and should not have finished the match with 11 players. The striker was always catching Bilel. It is okay to be physical when you play football but there were a lot of bad tackles on Thursday night.”
“It started in the first half, with lots of fouls on Ian Black especially. If the referee had made their first booking earlier, maybe some of the tackles afterwards would not have happened.”
Rangers match against Airdrie was the classic example of how physical play can spiral out of control in the hands of a referee who does little to maintain order. Greg Aitken, who was in charge of the match, handed out seven yellow cards (five to Airdire, two to Rangers) but never put a halt to the avalanche of reckless tackles raining in on Rangers players.
All of this created a palpable sense of frustration & aggression coming from both sides of the pitch. Ian Black’s response to a hard tackle from Airdrie’s Jamie Bain was a classic case of foreshadowing for the end of the match.
Mohsni is not completely innocent in all of this. His reputation of being overly emotional was on full display against Airdrie & he let his passion get the best of him. The constant interacting with the crowd & divisive reactions to the ref during the match was alarming & was a reminder of how he fell out of favor at Southend United.
However, if Faure’s accusations are valid they are warranted of a SPFL investigation & subsequent punishment for crossing the boundaries of sportsmanship. Only minutes prior to the Mohsni incident, Bollan was accused of berating an injured Lewis MacLeod – likely accusing the clearly injured midfielder of time wasting. Bollan urged his players to ignore the injury & to continue with the throw-in.
Obviously, the intensity of the match got the better of Bollan, who played with Rangers from 1995-98.
Sadly, Bollan has higher expectations of behavior being in a position of leadership, especially with a team as young as Airdries.
It will be interesting to see how seriously the SPFL deals with Faure’s accusations.