Gael Bigirimana celebrated his 18th birthday on Saturday by getting himself sent off for a two footed challenge on Kieren Tripper in the 1-2 defeat against Burnley.
The dismissal did not please his manager Andy Thorn, who had no complaints about the referee's decision, but was angry with his player and later blasted him for his recklessness. Thorn was also less than impressed with Bigirimana's defending and blamed him for Burnley's equaliser.
Bigirimana will now face a three match ban for his straight red card and may well find himself dropped by Thorn for a while. In Bigirimana's defence though, his two footed challenge was seen as clumsy rather than malicious and intended, but the result is the same.
An unusually angry Thorn said after the game, “I’m not hanging the boys out to dry, but if we’re going to heap praise on them then they’ve got to expect the other side as well. We were so dominant in the first half that I could only see one result, so it was really disappointing the way we let the game drift away.
“People might say you’ve got to expect that with young teams, I’ve said it myself, but I’m starting to get a bit fed up with saying it. We need to get a bit tougher and it’s about time people started growing up.”
Thorn was asked if Bigirimana was upset by his first sending off, he curtly replied, “I’m past caring about things like that. It was a two-footed tackle so it’s a sending off.
I thought that as soon as I saw it and I don’t think the referee had any other option. There’s no malice in Gael, he’s not that way inclined, but those are the rules, you can’t do it.
“He let his man drop off him for the first goal as well and that cost us the game, so he’s not really had a good birthday. He’s young, he’s inexperienced, but he’s got to start learning fast.”
As for the late winning Burnley goal, some City players claimed offside, but Thorn knew it wasn't and admitted, “It wasn’t offside. We’d be clutching at straws if we were asking for that.
“Roy O’Donovan should have cleared the corner but it was a really poor effort and when the ball went back in Conor and Cyrus didn’t come out like we’d worked on.
“The sending-off changed the game. It became very difficult when we went down to ten because they used the extra man well, but I’m really disappointed with the way we backed off after taking the lead. We should have put the game to bed but we stopped playing.
“It hasn’t undone all the good work because we played some good football and were dominant for long periods, but I’m getting really fed up with conceding late goals and it’s about time we stood up and started turning performances into results.
“We’ll still protect the young boys but, as big a fan as I am, they have to be prepared to take the criticism as well.”