Hearts to challenge Jamie Walker's ban for diving
HEARTS plan to challenge the diving charge that could see Jamie Walker banned for two games, it is understood.
The winger has been issued with a notice of complaint by Scottish Football Association judicial officer Tony McGlennan following a controversial penalty award in Sunday's defeat to Celtic. Referee John Beaton gave Hearts a first-half spot-kick at Tynecastle after Walker appeared to tumble under a challenge from defender Kieran Tierney, but replays showed little if any contact.
Walker - who claimed after the match he "felt contact so went down" - has until 3pm on Wednesday to respond to the offer of a two-match ban, but a source close to the club insists the Gorgie outfit will "100 per cent be appealing". That means the 23-year-old faces a Hampden hearing with disciplinary bosses on Thursday - but will be clear to face St Johnstone in Wednesday's Betfred Cup clash in Perth.
Walker, who scored from the spot-kick, has now been charged with breaching SFA disciplinary rule 201. The charge states: "At the above match you committed an act of simulation in that you did pretend that you were fouled by a player on the opposing team, namely Kieran Tierney, and did thereafter dive in the penalty box of the opposing team.
"That this act of simulation caused a match official to make an incorrect decision, namely the incorrect awarding of a penalty to Heart of Midlothian FC."
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has already defended Walker against accusations from Celtic skipper Scott Brown that he tried to con Beaton during the Hoops' 2-1 win in Edinburgh. Brown labelled his opponent a "cheat", but Neilson said: "It's disappointing when you hear fellow professionals saying things like that but Scott's entitled to his opinion.
"From our perspective, Jamie has said there was contact there. If there's contact, it's up to the referee to make a decision. At no point did Jamie claim for a penalty, as any of our players did. The referee makes the decision and you have to accept it."
Hearts striker Conor Sammon also backed his team-mate: "That's Scott Brown's opinion and he is entitled to that," he said.
"Jamie Walker is fine, he's a very talented player and a strong character. I'm sure he won't lose any sleep over those comments. He is very much his own person. And as a group of players we will stick together."
Brown said after last Sunday's match: "It is brilliant how well he dives. He is really good at that. He should have been in Rio. It was a dive. Cheat. What else can you say