Whittaker ban stuns Rangers
Rangers have confirmed an appeal is likely to be lodged after Steven Whittaker was hit with a three-match European ban.
Last Updated: 15/08/11 7:53pm
Rangers have confirmed they will definitely appeal after Steven Whittaker was hit with a three-match European ban.
Whittaker has landed the suspension following his red card in Rangers' UEFA Champions League qualifier against Malmo in Sweden earlier this month.
The full-back was sent off inside 20 minutes of the 1-1 draw, which put Rangers out 2-1 on aggregate, after throwing the ball at Malmo player Jimmy Durmaz.
Whittaker is set to miss both legs of the Europa League play-off against Maribor, the first of which is on Thursday in Slovenia, and the first game in the group stages if Rangers qualify.
An article on the club's official website revealed Rangers were "stunned" by the severity of the suspension.
The statement added: "Rangers have until midnight to appeal the sanction and it is likely that an appeal will be submitted."
Manager Ally McCoist added: "We're definitely appealing as I think the length of ban is very harsh indeed."
A broken toe means Whittaker has not played since his sending off and the full-back would have been unlikely to feature in Thursday's Europa League play-off against Maribor in any case, regardless of an automatic one-match suspension.
However, his ban is also set to extend to the second leg at Ibrox and the first match of the group stages, should the Light Blues overcome the Slovenians.
McCoist had no complaints about the red card but felt the subsequent punishment was too severe.
He added: "We've no problems about the sending off and we've spoken about that. It was a mistake and a gross error of judgement.
"With that said, the boy went down holding his face when the ball never hit him there and he made a lot of what happened.
"Steven was rightly punished for what he did but we feel banning him for that length of time is too much."