Dundee boss James McPake accused Hearts counterpart Robbie Neilson of “stoking the fire” ahead of their 1-1 draw at Tynecastle.
Asked about the abusive chants endured by on-loan striker Leigh Griffiths in every match this season, McPake felt Neilson’s comments didn’t help the situation.
On the abuse from the stands towards Griffiths, McPake said: “You have to try and help him. His motivation is to play football.
“I don’t think it helps when we are talking about things like that for opposition managers to say it will be a white hot atmosphere or whatever the words used were.
“Leigh is a target, we know that. They went to the voting scandal but we’ve played them three times since then – he was the Dundee United manager then so I don’t think there was a need to say that.
“I don’t think certain comments help the situation brought up about Leigh.
“It is stoking the fire. I didn’t like it.”
Former Hearts youth player Jason Cummings denied the league leaders all three points at Tynecastle, as Dundee fought back to claim a share of the spoils 🤝
Highlights 👇 pic.twitter.com/iVQPy02TzP
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) October 23, 2021
‘Leigh deserves credit’
McPake was full of praise for goalscorer Jason Cummings but made a point of picking out the contribution of Griffiths in the first hour of the match.
The striker may not have been able to add to his first goal of the season picked up against Aberdeen last weekend but, once more, he was on hand to head the ball off his own goal line.
This time he denied Craig Halkett from opening the scoring at Tynecastle.
“He did it last week too,” McPake said.
“He is switched on – you don’t play at the level he has without being switched on.
“He has really bought into what we are trying to do. He’s now one of the experienced ones with Liam Fontaine and Charlie Adam.
“Leigh deserves credit. He took the ball in for us when we got up the pitch and its another 65 minutes for him.
“Coming to an atmosphere a lot wouldn’t want to but that didn’t affect him.
“He’s getting better and better every day with training and games.”
McPake added: “Leigh has been great since he came in.
“He has good people around him – Dave Mackay knows him, I know him, Charlie Adam is great, we have a great squad.
“I want Leigh Griffiths to be enjoying playing football, which he is at Dundee.”