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Page last updated at 10:06 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 11:06 UK

Santana upset by spitting claims

Hearts winger Suso
Suso was accused of spitting at an opponent at McDiarmid Park

Hearts winger Suso Santana has denied deliberately spitting at St Johnstone defender Danny Grainger.

Suso and Grainger were involved in a touchline altercation during the first half of Sunday's 2-2 draw in Perth.

And the Spaniard was substituted early in the second half as a result of the incident.

However, an upset Suso told the club website: "I do not spit at opponents. That is not my style as I respect all my fellow professionals."

Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo withdrew Suso over the spitting suggestions but said he had not seen the incident, while nobody from St Johnstone publicly accused the player of wrongdoing.

"For this, I took Suso out of the game," Laszlo said after the game. "I must protect the player and the face of the club."

But Suso is adamant he did not deliberately spit at Grainger and claims the Saints player has no problem with him.

"What happened was that when I turned my head away to spit, the St Johnstone player moved to get the ball and I caught him on his back," the 24-year-old explained.

"I saw right away what had happened and quickly cleaned up the back of his shirt, apologised to him, he accepted it right away and we shook hands. He knew it was an accident.

"I am sure if he thought I had done it deliberately, he would have reacted far differently.

"I have never been accused of this before in my career. What happened has been blown out of proportion and it's upsetting."

Laszlo, whose club recently received a £50,000 Scottish Football Association fine for their indiscipline, vowed to have a quiet word with Suso and not issue a heavy punishment.

"Suso is a Spanish player who has a different mentality," Laszlo said.

"He is impulsive - the Spanish women are the same. They have power and fire and Suso is the same.

"He will learn, he is a young guy. It is no use punishing aggression with aggression. I will handle the situation."

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see also
St Johnstone 2-2 Hearts
30 Aug 09 |  Scottish Premier

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