Football Writers Accused of 'Twisting' Words

Scottish football writers have been accused of twisting the words of the Hearts football club captain, with the result he has pledged to boycott speaking to them.

Michael Stewart was interviewed ahead of his side's derby encounter at the weekend against rivals, Hibs. It followed a photoshoot yesterday to promote the Poppy Appeal. But when asked to comment on the progress of Hibs, his remarks were reported suggesting Hibs were lucky to be as high in the league as they are.

On the Hearts website, he claimed his words had been spun. This evening, on BBC Radio Scotland, he talked of “lazy journalism”, where journalists decide among themselves 'what the line' should be, asking what prevented them from working independently of each other.

The Hearts website quotes him saying: “Yesterday, [myself and Hibs counterpart, Chris Hogg] went along to promote a fantastically worthy cause with Armistice Weekend coming up and all the papers have done is spin everything round into a pile of ****, which I never said.

“People will read the headlines and say it is sour grapes, it is not sour grapes as I never said it. I was asked a million times if I was surprised that Hibs were sitting second. I said 'no I'm not'. I said they were doing extremely well to keep their run going and that when they had a slice of luck during the season, they have capitalised on it whereas whenever we have had luck, we have not capitalised on it.

“By understanding those comments you realise that I am praising Hibs and saying that Hibs have taken their opportunities and we haven't. It's not turning round and saying they are lucky.”

He continued: “[The written media] are complete parasites. They tried to manipulate, twist and put a spin on everything that has been said. They have shown a complete lack of respect in my opinion.

“Last week, I only spoke to the broadcast media after the win over Celtic as clearly when you talk to the TV or radio your words are heard and seen and they cannot be twisted or manipulated.”