RM shocked to pay the penalty

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.”