Scotland boss Steve Clarke backs Ryan Porteous over 'unfair' criticism
Scotland boss Steve Clarke has weighed in on the controversy surrounding Ryan Porteous by insisting the Hibs defender receives unfair criticism in Scottish football.
Porteous is once again at the centre of a media storm after Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin singled him out for “blatant cheating” in the wake of his side’s 3-1 defeat to Lee Johnson’s side at Easter Road on Saturday.
The 23-year-old penalty area was fouled in the penalty area by Liam Scales, who received a second yellow card for the challenge, as Hibs were able to overturn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 win.
Goodwin, however, insisted Porteous had conned the official and said it was in the player’s nature to go over easily to win free-kicks and penalties. Goalkeeper Kelle Roos echoed his managers comments while there’s also been ex-referee Steve Conroy weighing in on the subject.
When first asked about the controversy, Clarke was evasive, saying: “I am not aware of a media storm around him because I don’t read your papers. Ryan is fine. I spoke to him and he is fine, he is comfortable.”
But then when asked if Porteous was someone who had developed a reputation in this country, he replied: “I think unfairly. I think we should protect all the players if we can.
“Listen, once you are out there on the pitch you are there to be judged and some people will judge you the other way. I can’t comment on what other people think of Ryan Porteous.
“I will only judge Ryan by what he does for us, how he trains for us, how he works for us when he gets his chance to play. That’s how I will judge him.
“I have found him to be a very enthusiastic, polite young man who comes into the group, trains well, works well and is desperate to play for his country.”
Quizzed on whether Porteous could make his international bow across the upcoming Uefa Nations League matches against Ukraine (twice) and Ireland following the injury to Grant Hanley, Clarke responded positivity in the player’s favour.
He said: “Well if you look at it I only have three players that would be recognised as central defenders. It would certainly improve his chances."