Mick McCarthy tonight stepped in to defend striker Kevin Kyle.
The Scot had a brace of chances during the match and was booked for dissent after kicking the ball away in frustration and came agonisingly close to being sent off for a second bookable offence but referee Scott Mathieson was lenient – so after it was Kyle who scored the winner, it was the Tractor Boys’ manager who ‘saw red’.
Joe Royle said “I don’t want to see players sent off, but the lad who scored the winner should not have even been on the pitch. He could have been sent off twice in the first half and Mick McCarthy has acknowledged that.
“He has calmed him down at half-time but we will have a player sent off at some stage of the season for less than that.”
But Mick McCarthy defended his man, saying “Too many things happened in the game for it to be an issue. The lad was different class, he excites the crowd, he frustrates them, he lifts them and he will do for me.
“Markers will be sick of the sight of him but let’s not get carried away, centre halves are no shrinking violets, I know from experience.
“He is not a dirty player.”