Celtic captain Scott Brown issued a robust defence to the media storm surrounding his tackle on Hearts striker Juanma, insisting critics should “man up”.
The Scotland international escaped punishment for a two-footed lunge on the Spanish forward three minutes into the contest at Celtic Park.
The Hoops ended the Premiership contest 3-1 victors after goals from Gary Mackay-Steven and a brace from Manchester City’s on-loan teenager Patrick Roberts to move four points clear of Aberdeen at the summit.
Known for his high work-rate and tough-tackling, the former Hibernian midfielder is one of the stars of Scottish football, chipping in with a handful of goals every campaign.
The 30-year-old is a mainstay of head coach Ronny Deila's first-team and has achieved a glittering career following his move to Glasgow in 2007, with five league titles, two Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups to his name.
Hearts head coach Robbie Nielsen claimed after the match that Brown had escaped punishment due to pressure on the referee from the home supporters, telling the Evening Times: "I felt there should be some sort of action but it's Parkhead, it doesn't happen for you, you just need to accept it.
"We knew it was going to be a feisty game, it is always like that when you come here but in my opinion it is minimum a booking and it doesn't happen.”
But Brown has now admonished condemnation over his tackle, asserting football is a contact sport.
“I have not looked back on it yet, so I am not really sure,” no-nonsense Brown was quoted as saying in The Scotsman.
“Some people have said it was a bad one but I haven’t had time to look at it. I don’t go into hurt anyone. I am sure I will look back on it.
“In football, there is too much focus on a wee slide tackle here or there. We need to man up about it. Football is a contact sport, you have to deal with some tackles. And I am not saying mine was great, or a bad one."