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Kevin Thomson defends St Johnstone kid Max Kucheriavyi following ‘dive’ assessment on Kelty Hearts debut

New Central Park is being prepared for the visit of the Pars
New Central Park is being prepared for the visit of the Pars

Fife rivals Maurice Ross and Kevin Thomson were are loggerheads over the penalty decision which earned Kelty Hearts a dramatic triumph against Cowdenbeath.

Blue Brazil boss Ross accused St Johnstone loan star Max Kucheriavyi of diving to win a spot-kick in the dying embers at New Central Park.

Thomson, responding, stated that he ‘trusted’ Kucheriavyi’s assertion that he was clipped as he danced into the box.

Ironically, Kucheriavyi — making his Kelty debut after joining the club on Monday night — had been booked for simulation by referee Steven Kirkland mere minutes earlier.

Immediate impact: Kucheriavyi

Blanking out the rancour and controversy, Kallum Higginbotham stepped up and sent Cammy Gill the wrong way from 12 yards.

The clinical penalty secured a precious victory on Tuesday evening, sending Kelty nine points clear at the summit of League 2.

But Ross lamented: “He [Kucheriavyi] has dived.

“Our player hasn’t even engaged with him, and he actually jumps into our player. We are gutted.

“If one of my players [deservedly] gave away a penalty, he would say, ‘gaffer, that was a penalty’. But he’s told me that there was no touch.”

Alternate view

Offering his take on the match-defining incident, Thomson said: “It would be great if we had replays and VAR and all that — but this is League 2!

Cowden boss Ross

“I thought the wee man [Kucheriavyi] was harshly treated when he was booked [for diving] after skipping in from the flank and going down.

“But he’s told me that, for the second one, there was contact and it was a certain penalty.

“I’ll trust wee Max and I was delighted by the impact he made.

Now nine points clear of Forfar, with a game in hand, Thomson added: “It’s a massive win.

“The way we played and passed the ball was more like us and I’m delighted for the boys. I feel like, ultimately, we got what we deserved.”

Kelty Hearts 1-0 Cowdenbeath: St Johnstone loan star Max Kucheriavyi steals show as Kallum Higginbotham seals dramatic Fife derby win

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