Grimsby Town fans' treatment of Derek Niven disappoints Rob Scott
ROB Scott has hit out at Grimsby Town fans who jeered Derek Niven off the field in Tuesday night’s triumph over Hyde.
The midfielder was replaced by Andi Thanoj, with the scores level, as the Mariners bosses rang the changes in search of victory.
Town went on to score twice in the closing stages to grab a priceless three points and return to the Conference summit.
But, for joint boss Scott, the ironic cheers that accompanied Niven’s exit left a bad taste in the mouth on an otherwise enjoyable evening.
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“When we made the double substitution, there could have been six or seven players who made way, and I was a little disappointed with the reaction to taking Derek off,” Scott told the Telegraph.
“I know the fans are entitled to their opinion and yes, he didn’t have the greatest game – we accept that.
“But we all know what Derek gives us, and as fans you have to accept the bad days with the good days.
“Phil Jevons got a better reception when he came off for Hyde. Fair enough, he’s got a good history here but he’s not our player anymore.
“We need to back our players. All right, you don’t need to cheer him off – although they did, but in the wrong manner.
“That’s wrong because Derek has been fantastic for us this season, as have all the players.”
A below-par first-half display from the Mariners saw tensions rise at Blundell Park, and the managers responded with a double substitution on the hour.
Scott continued: “It was frustration, I get that. We were all frustrated with the first half but we need to stick together and show some solidarity.
“That goes for everybody including our 12th man – our fans.”
Since his arrival in the summer – following eight years and almost 300 appearances with Chesterfield – Niven has been a mainstay of the Town midfield.
Twenty-seven starts from the Mariners 32 games so far this campaign speaks volumes for the 29-year-old’s importance to a side that has surged to the top of the table.
And Scott feels that too much of the central-midfielder’s good work goes un-noticed by onlookers.
“We know what Derek is – he’s a destroyer,” he commented.
“He’s in there for a firm reason, to break things up and give it to other players who possibly have a slightly better technique than him.
“He didn’t have a great night against Hyde, but then again Craig Disley didn’t have a great night in the first half and there were many others who didn’t either. They all accepted that at half-time.
“The reason we took Derek off was because we wanted Andi to get on there and pass it – fortunately that switch paid off.
“Andi gives us something different to Derek but, by the same token, Derek gives us another side that Andi doesn’t.
“It’s a shame because he’s been absolutely brilliant for us and I’d hate to think that he feels like a bit of a whipping boy, because that’s certainly not the case in my and Paul’s (Hurst) eyes.”