Tuesday 9 August 2016 14:49, UK
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has defended Jamie Walker following Scott Brown’s accusation that he is a “cheat” after he won a penalty against Celtic.
Hoops skipper Brown blasted Walker after the Hearts midfielder went down under the attention of Kieran Tierney before slotting home an equaliser from the spot in Celtic's 2-1 Premiership win on Sunday.
After the match, Brown said: "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?"
Walker could face a ban if Scottish Football Association compliance officer Tony McGlennan agrees with Brown's assessment.
However, Neilson has hit back and said Walker never actually claimed for a penalty but does fear the SFA could act over the alleged dive.
He told Sky Sports News HQ: "I've seen every angle possible from it and at no point is there no contact, when you see it. When you look at the slow motions there is a possibility that the leg comes through, Walker is trying to move out the way, it catches him and he has to get out the way.
"But he doesn't make any appeal for a penalty kick so it is up to the referee to make a decision. If there is no contact and he goes down screaming for a penalty kick like an incident we had against Celtic a couple of years ago then that is a different story.
"To be honest, it is the SFA so it wouldn't surprise me.
"It is up to Scott. I spoke to him after the game, on a different subject where we were just talking about coaching, but he can say what he wants, to be honest, it is up to him.
"We look at ourselves internally and try to keep things to ourselves but it is disappointing that he is coming out and saying things like that about fellow professionals but, at the end of the day, he is free to say what he wants."
"But 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," Sammon 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."