Hartlepool boss says ex-Mansfield man did not go too far
Craig Hignett insists Nathan Thomas 'didn't cross a line' after Hartlepool United's opening goal in the 2-1 win over Mansfield Town.
Hignett said the forward had every right to show his joy at Billy Paynter’s first penalty though he did have a quiet word with him at half-time.
The former Mansfield winger’s celebrations in front of the fans who once cheered him sparked an angry reaction from some and police and stewards had to move into the Town End to control the situation.
Not only were some supporters incandescent, several Mansfield players took exception and after some jostling in the aftermath of the goal, Thomas was booked by referee Graham Salisbury.
But Hignett believes the yellow card was harsh on the 21-year-old and insists he will not put the lid on the in-form mid-season signing.
“It’s always hard when you come up against your former team and I believe he got a bit of stick when he left,” he said.
“He has a bit of devil about him, but I love that, I’ll never stop it or temper it.
“I had to have a chat at half-time but that’s all it was.
“We scored a goal, he celebrated it, I don’t see how he crossed a line.
“They might not have been happy because we scored a gaol, but his loyalty is with Hartlepool United.
“Obviously the way he left there must have been some acrimony, I don’t know the full story, but listen, he’s a passionate lad.
“I think their players took exception to him celebrating so much, but that’s their problem.
“I was annoyed he got booked for celebrating.
“Maybe it wasn’t the best idea in the world to do it in front of their fans but I don’t think he has done anything wrong.”
Hignett was annoyed at some of the treatment dished out by the Stags on Thomas, when they could get near him that is.
“People say it’s a non-contact sport these days but there was a lot of contact here,” he said.
“I’d have liked the referee to have had that opinion as well.”