Dons boss Derek McInnes has taken a swipe at Hearts manager Craig Levein as the spat following Aberdeen’s 2-0 win last Saturday continues.
Following that victory over the Jambos the Reds’ winning run of four games was ended by Celtic yesterday, the Hoops winning 4-3 at Pittodrie.
After last Saturday’s game Levein felt Hearts should have had two penalties and accused McInnes of trying to get Steven Naismith sent off.
McInnes disagreed with Levein and then, speaking ahead of their game with Hamilton yesterday, Levein had another pop at McInnes.
The Tynecastle gaffer said: “I get on well with Del but this is the same Derek McInnes who, when I was on the phone to him three weeks ago, was crying his eyes out about the decisions that were going against him.”
Levein intimated that McInnes had phoned him to complain about referees.
However, the Pittodrie boss says that wasn’t the case and branded Levein’s reaction “irrational” and “childish”.
McInnes said: “After what I said against Hearts on Saturday, he’s taken umbrage to what I’ve said.
“It was more about the last game against Hearts (2-1 loss at Tynecastle, October 20) when they got two penalties – one was never a penalty and one was very soft.
“Even then he was wanting four or five penalties.
“On Saturday I was asked the first question when we won the game and I thought we were hands down the better team.
“I was asked the question that Craig Levein felt he should have had a couple of penalties and I said ‘Hearts always seem to want penalties’.
“If that is what has caused him to be so upset I find his reaction irrational and childish.
“One thing that needs to be said, he has intimated and tried to cast aspersions that I phoned him.
“We played Rangers on the Wednesday night (at Ibrox on December 5), we won the game (1-0), we were off on the Thursday (December 6) and I was doing the school run and I had a phone call from him the morning after the Rangers game.
“I was still so pleased with my team from winning.
“You need to ask yourself why is he phoning me?
“He was the one that was the one complaining, he was the one moaning about the penalty at St Johnstone (in a 2-2 draw on December 5).
“That was a private phone call, he has put that into the public domain.
“The initial phone call has come from Craig Levein to me which I find surprising because he’s not normally someone I speak to.
“He said ‘what are we going to do about these referees?’ I said that in 11 years as a manager I felt you didn’t get any real benefit from criticising referees.
“No good can come from it. I got asked about the Cosgrove sending off and I commented on it.
“I got asked about the penalty at Hampden in the cup final, should it be a penalty? Of course it shouldn’t.
“I’ve got to answer when I get asked and I commented at the time and of course I was disappointed with the decisions at the time.
“The very next day (Friday December 7) I did my press conference and we spoke about how referees needed help with VAR.
“I felt there was no benefit of continually criticising referees and make points after the event.
“I have got to answer at the time so I find the whole thing quite irrational and his reaction a bit strange. For somebody who has done so much in the game and somebody who I have always had a high regard for, I find it really disappointing.
“Each to their own – he said I was crying my eyes out, but he was the one who made the phone call.
“He was the one complaining and he hasn’t stopped moaning since.
“He cast an aspersion that it was me that made the phone call to complain. Why would I phone Craig Levein to complain about referees?
“You need to ask him why he phoned me to complain about referees.
“It’s disappointing. I want to concentrate on my team and not wanting to comment on this.
“But he put a private conversation into the public domain and that disappoints me.”
Reflecting on yesterday’s defeat to Celtic, McInnes was proud of his team, who now sit fourth in the Premiership after Kilmarnock’s 1-0 win at Motherwell.
McInnes felt Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard made a big impact. The Frenchman was a 70th-minute sub as the game went from 1-1 with 15 minutes to play to 4-3 at time up.
He added: “I thought it was a fantastic game and had a bit of everything in it.
“But I do feel the introduction of Edouard in the dying embers made an impact.
“With our defenders tired a £10 million striker comes on. His composure on the ball, running power, strength and freshness did pay dividends for them.
“You have to applaud Celtic for their attacking intent.
“A draw may have been a fair result for what we put into the game, but the attacking abilities of Celtic played their part in the final few minutes.”
Celtic felt the Dons’ second penalty in the 83rd minute when Lustig tangled with captain Graeme Shinnie wasn’t a spot kick.
McInnes said: “I’ve seen it and I think it was a push in the back.”