By Graham Hill
ASTON Villa boss Dean Smith called for the pitch invader who attacked Jack Grealish at St Andrew’s to be ‘locked up’.
And he blasted Birmingham City’s security for allowing Grealish to be exposed to what the EFL have described as a ‘mindless’ attack.
Smith was clearly still angry about the assault on Grealish when he spoke to Sky Sports after the game.
That was despite seeing his captain shrug off the disgusting attack from behind to score the winning goal at St Andrew’s.
The offender was immediately arrested as he was dragged away from Grealish.
Birmingham City issued an apology to Grealish and Villa after the game – promising that the fan would be given a life ban.
The EFL have also promised an investigation and that could mean bad news for Birmingham if security issues are found to have been putting players at risk.
There have also been reports of a steward kicking out at Grealish as he celebrated his goal with travelling Villa fans.
It was an unsavoury day mixed with triumph as Grealish somehow picked himself up from being assaulted to take charge of the game and make sure of three points for Villa.
But Smith fumed: “It shouldn’t happen, the security should have been better.
“Hopefully the lad gets locked up.
“Luckily Jack’s okay, but when you have 15,000 clapping as well it doesn’t make it right.
“I’m all for local rivalry but that’s overstepping the mark.
“Thankfully he then goes and scores the winner for us.
“It shouldn’t have happened at all, we kick off at midday on a Sunday for a reason and that’s to keep people out of the pubs.
“But you have to be ready for people coming on to the pitch. Then some lunatic wants to go on and make a name for himself.”
Smith admitted that Grealish was a ‘marked man’ on the field and that showed through after only three minutes when he was brought down by Mikael Kieftenbeld and earned a booking.
The Villa boss added: “A yellow card was enough but it was a scrappy local derby and we had to defend really well.”