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Brown's early shout for Olivier Award was top quality but his phoney outrage won't be an opinion shared in any dressing room he has ever sat in; Gordon THE EX-PRO IN THE KNOW Park@Sunds ayMailSport 68 Sunday Mail August 14, 2016 email reporters@sundaymail.co.uk.

Of all the thespians on show during Festival month in the capital, Scott Brown should take the biggest bow.

His mock horror at Tynecastle, his outrage over a bit of simulation that had offended his sensitivities.

Oh, the pretence of it all ...

It was an unpleasant and offensive piece of tut-tutery from the Hoops captain.

The biggest crime committed in Hearts' clash against Celtic was Brown trying to claim the moral high ground as he labelled fellow professional Jamie Walker a cheat.

A few minutes after the curtain fell on the first game of the campaign, the Hoops skipper was a picture of pious self righteousness as he publicly pilloried the Hearts player.

What a man, and what a laugh, to hear him attempt to project the virtue of a player looking to uphold the highest values of sportsmanship within the game.

It didn't wash. He'll know better than most that the Walt Disney world of football ethics don't exist.

Whether Walker's evasion of Kieran Tierney's leg may or not have been an act of the dark arts remains debatable - regardless of the SFA's guilty verdict.

But the hard truth is cheating is part and parcel of the game.

Brown's early shout for an Olivier Award was impressive but his phoney outrage won't be an opinion shared in any dressing-room he's sat in.

It's never nice to hear the cynical certainties from players or managers but going down under little or no contact inside the box is just another tactic, not a matter of right or wrong.

Walker's been hit with a two-match ban - an excessive punishment for an offence that can't be proven beyond any reasonable doubt. Even if he's guilty, it's no more or less a crime than the "professional foul".

Here's the truth of it ... every boss in football would have encouraged Walker to hit the deck.

I've played for them and so has Brown - it's high fives and congratulations for a job well done when it all goes to plan. There are no integrity awards handed out by gaffers - only win bonuses when you achieve or a free transfer when you fail.

Players who don't make the most of a lazy leg in the penalty area are routinely lambasted after games. That's the reality of professional football.

It may not be nice but the ethical code has no place at elite level.

Principles of sportsmanship are an idealistic fantasy for the naive and footballing romantics.

"I knocked the ball on and I've seen Tierney coming out the corner of my eye and felt contact so I went down."

Walker's words are more credible then Brown's.

The Hearts winger has been kicked up and down the pitch enough over the years to instinctively anticipate contact. That it didn't arrive is a credit to Tierney and the fact the incident occurred in the most profitable area of the pitch has ensured it's been the talking point of the week.

Here's the problem - refs haven't usually played the game to a high level. They don't have that learned ability to anticipate a challenge, which is a striker's sixth sense.

Watch the incident again, Walker gets a touch to the ball and goes down in the belief contact is coming his way, it's a natural and, more importantly, the professional thing to do.

Unethical? Players routinely take the 'professional foul' option on the half-way line but there's never the same furore about a centre-half clothes-lining a striker 40-yards out.

Yet strikers are demonised for diving.

It's a tangled web if players or fans want to go overboard with the Walker affair, as it's only time before one of their own is practising to deceive. Brown's in the wrong game to cry foul.

CAPTION(S):

SPLASH DAMAGE Brown (below) says Walker (main pic) dived

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 14, 2016
Words:633
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