SFA ready to tackle Hearts on red cards Farry talks of `special review' after the Ibrox sendings off
By IAN PAUL
16 Sep 1996
HEARTS will be at the centre of a searching SFA investigation after the farcical scenes on Saturday when four of the Tynecastle team were sent off as they went down 3-0 in the premier-division match at Ibrox.
The club's chairman, Chris Robinson, will be involved in a separate inquiry after he broke the SFA rules by appearing in the technical area, when he seemed to be under the impression the game should be abandoned.
Said chief executive, Jim Farry: ``It is disturbing at a time when we are being asked to make sure that football exercises self regulation in disciplinary matters that professionals let the game down.
``It is fairly obvious that the SFA disciplinary committee will want to make further inquiries.
'' The four Hearts men ordered off by Bishopbriggs referee Gerry Evans - Pasquale Bruno, David Weir, Neil Pointon, and Paul Ritchie - will miss the televised Coca-Cola Cup quarter-final with Celtic tomorrow night at Tynecastle, but worse could follow once the disciplinary committee examine the evidence presented by the reports from the referee and his assistants, as well as the referee supervisor.
Farry added: ``The Association will collate the necessary reports from Saturday's match and the Disciplinary Committee will decide if further action is required.
``My view is that, for a variety of reasons, it would be necessary to see the level of misconduct on this scale requiring a special review.
``We have a fairly biting disciplinary procedure in place which will include all four players being suspended for Hearts' match on Tuesday night and having penalty points allocated against their names.
``The cases of each player will be dealt with on an individual basis, as is usual, as well as any further possible action.
'' Referee Evans has been criticised, but TV evidence seemed to back the dismissals of Bruno, who had been booked earlier, and Weir - although Rangers striker Gordon Durie was lucky to escape action.
It would be naive to imagine that the committee members will not have seen the television version and, in the new era when such witness is allowed, the odds are that the inquiry will include the BBC TV pictures.
Bruno's smiling cynicism as he left the field in mock triumph could get the Italian in trouble under the all-encompassing ``disrepute'' clause.
Robinson could be the first club chairman to suffer the wrath of the committee for encroaching the technical zone, and also apparently gesturing to players from the touchline as he seemed to think the game should be abandoned.
In fact, the new directive in the laws, amended by the International Board, says that any game where one team is reduced to six players should be abandoned.
Had that happened, an inquiry would have been staged and a decision taken about what happened next, whether the game should be replayed or the points awarded.
Rangers might well have been concerned about that possibility because of the tightness of their fixture schedule as it is, not to mention the fact that they were two goals up at the time.
Hearts left Ibrox with neither Robinson nor manager Jim Jefferies prepared to make any comment.
However, they are believed to have been angry at the decisions taken.
The Disciplinary Committee are scheduled to use TV evidence for the first time on October 14, when they hold their investigation into the row at Brockville when Albert Craig is alleged to have thrown a punch at Gareth Evans after they were sent off in the Falkirk-Partick Thistle first division game in the early part of last month.
Later, Hearts forward John Colquhoun, on BBC Scotland, said: ``It is very difficult to say anything without being in too much trouble.
``We were disappointed that certain events in the game went against us and it spiralled into what occurred with four players sent off.
``There are repercussions for us throughout the season with penalty points for the players and a vital cup game coming up.
We have an entire back four ruled out.
'' Hearts might well feel that Bruno did not warrant a second booking and that this proved crucial to the events that followed.
However, they will have to look closely at the behaviour of the Italian as he made his bizarre march of triumph off the park.
This kind of cynicism may be part of the Italian way but it is not acceptable in this country.
Bruno, a delightful and intelligent man off the park, can be a superb player on it, but he has a self-destruct mechanism which overcomes his rationale.
The Ibrox match was another example of rising indiscipline, with St Mirren having been reduced to eight men in a first division fixture last Saturday, and yesterday, Arbroath were reduced to nine.
Now Jefferies has a huge selection headache for tomorrow against Celtic, who have Brian O'Neil suspended after the defender was sent off during Celtic's premier division match at Tannnadice against Dundee United.
Jefferies has Gary Locke and Craig Levein as long-term injuries so he is short of six defenders from his first-team squad.
Hearts' red cards match Stranraer's feat in December 1994 against Airdrie, as well as Hereford's four sent off at Northampton on November 11, 1992, for the British record.
Taken from the Herald