Scottish Premier League

RM shocked to pay the penalty

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Mon, 25 Feb 2013 09:28:00

Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa believes 'everything is in place' for future success at the club despite their struggles this season.

The Magpies have enjoyed some relief in recent games after a troubled first half to the campaign which left them near the Premier League relegation places.

Their inconsistent form came as a disappointment after Alan Pardew led them to an impressive fifth-placed finish last term.

But Ben Arfa believes this year's campaign will finish better than expected, with Europa League success still within their reach, and feels he can fulfil his trophy ambitions at St James' Park in the future.

The Frenchman, whose appearances for Newcastle this season have been limited by a hamstring injury, told The Times: "It's really special to be back. I think we can turn this into a better season than it might have seemed.

"I'd love to win titles, silverware. To give everything I can so that at the end of my career I can look back and have no regrets. Why not here? It's a beautiful club.

"There's everything here to succeed; a great stadium and infrastructure, brilliant fans, good players. Everything is in place."

Signings



An influx of French signings in the winter transfer window has given Newcastle a boost both domestically and in Europe, and Ben Arfa has hailed the club's recruitment drive.

"I feel a great sense of pride to see all the French players arriving," he said. "They are great signings. We've recruited very well."

Ben Arfa is keen to repay manager Pardew for the faith shown in him, adding: "We have a good relationship.

"He's given me a lot of responsibility, but he's done it gradually, so he's learnt exactly where I play best. And he now has confidence in me, which has really helped my game. I want to repay him for that."

Johnny Russell converted from the spot with four minutes to go to secure a 2-2 draw for the home side after referee Alan Muir ruled McGivern tripped Gary Mackay-Steven.

The on-loan Manchester City defender is not disputing the challenge but insists it took place outside the box - a view backed up by television replays.

He said: "I knew at the time when I stuck my leg out that I was giving away a free-kick.

"When I turned around and the referee was pointing to the spot I was shocked.

"I tried to have a word with the linesman and he was having none of it.

"I think the linesman has got to help the referee out there because I'm not sure what the referee's position was but the linesman should be level with the play.

"I've seen it back on the replay and you can clearly see I'm standing outside the box when I make the tackle so it's very disappointing."

He added: "I tried to tell the linesman it was clearly outside the box and he told me to get away.

"Whenever officials are like that you're not going to get much out of them. You've just got to get on with it."

Moments earlier, United claimed Russell had been fouled in the box by Paul Hanlon.

McGivern said: "The officials are there to make decisions and they've certainly got my one wrong.

"I've seen Paul's back as well and I don't think that was one either.

"If they've been influenced by the fans then that's a bit disappointing."

Hibs responded well after falling behind early on when goalkeeper Ben Williams' attempted clearance cannoned off the body of John Rankin and into the back of the net.

James McPake levelled for the visitors before a lovely strike from Leigh Griffiths handed them the lead until the late penalty call.

However, having picked up three points on the road against St Mirren in their last match, McGivern refused to be too downbeat ahead of Wednesday's game against Kilmarnock.

He said: "We've had two away games and picked up four points so if we can get a win on Wednesday it's a good week's work."

United boss Jackie McNamara said: "We were poor in the first half and were quite fortunate with the goal.

"I thought Griffiths was the difference between the two sides in the first half.

"But I thought we deserved at least a point for our second half performance."

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