Smith slams SFA ban

Rangers boss feels disciplinary system is unfair

Smith: McGregor praise

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Rangers manager Walter Smith has branded the Scottish Football Association's disciplinary system unfair in the wake of Allan McGregor's retrospective ban.

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The Scotland goalkeeper was handed a one-match suspension for a kick aimed at Aberdeen's Chris Maguire, which rules him out of Saturday's game against Motherwell.

The sanction came from the SFA's review panel two weeks after the incident.

Yet no further action was taken against Hearts midfielder Ian Black, who only received a booking for a challenge which has left McGregor's team-mate Nikica Jelavic facing several months out with ankle ligament damage.

"That's one of the complaints you would have, I don't think there is any doubt about it," said Smith.

"They are willing to put the referee under scrutiny for missing something, yet not put him under scrutiny for something he maybe didn't judge properly.

"We have seen a player suspended for what they are considering to be intent and we've got another one out for three months for something else. We are disappointed to lose him but we get on with it."

Double standards

Smith admits little can be done to improve the disciplinary system at present but has put pressure on the SFA to ensure each Scottish Premier League club is subject to the same measures.

"I don't think anybody, including the authorities, is happy with the situation as it is at the present moment," he said.

"I think there are quite a few anomalies but we have to go by the ruling at the present moment.

"Ourselves and Celtic appear much more regularly on the telly than others and are probably under more scrutiny. If we have a disciplinary system that applies to one, it should apply to all.

"But it's been there for ages, it's just something that I feel is a wee bit unfair but we have to put up with it.

"We are not the first team to lose a player through this circumstance and I think it is something that has to be tidied up."

SFA defence

News of the ban came as McGregor was preparing to represent Scotland against the Czech Republic and Spain.

And new SFA chief executive Stewart Regan, who only took up the post last week, has agreed that changes are necessary.

"Firstly, I can understand the media and supporter interest in the situation that arose at the start of the international double-header," he said.

"The timing was unfortunate - and not how I intended to spend my first day in office - but the investigation process is designed to ensure violent conduct is eradicated from the game, while also providing a support network for match officials who may have missed such instances.

"There are elements of the process that I, as a newcomer to the Scottish FA, am not entirely content with.

"I have already requested a tightening-up of certain elements which I believe will help improve the transparency and functionality of the procedure."