Dundee United have branded the SFA judicial panel’s decision to ban Paul Paton as “incredulous” and “mystifying.”
The Tangerines midfielder was found to have breached the governing body’sdisciplinary rule 200 “by spitting at anopponent at a match”.
The opponent in question was Aberdeen’s Jonny Hayes but the alleged “victim” said Paton didn’t do it.
The incident was supposed to have occurred following a challenge from Paton on Hayes in the 78th minute of Saturday’s Tangerines v Dons clash at Tannadice, afoul for which the home player received abooking.
The allegation came afterwards as video footage of the game was posted on theinternet pictures that looked inconclusive.
Hayes then took to Twitter to say that his opponent wasinnocent a plea that was ignored by the SFA at Thursday’s Hampden hearing.
The Dons player wrote: “Just wanna clear it up that Paul Paton never spat at me, what happens and is said on the pitch is brushed aside at the end of 90 mins!
“To the Scottish FA, I’d never want to see a fellow pro being accused or found guilty of something that never happened!
“And what happened on Saturday will stay between myself and Paul, we’ve spoken on this non issue, and if asked I’ll confirm what happened.”
After news of the SFA’s decision came through, Paton tweeted: “”I honestly have no words?! Can’t say too much, just wow.”
And United’s response was swift and scathing. They feel their player is the subject of a miscarriage of justice and confirmed that Paton will be appealing the immediate two-match ban handed to him.
A club spokesman said: “The player will certainly be appealing thisdecision and will be given our full backing in this matter. The decision today relating to Paul Paton is incredulous.
“We are stunned firstly that it was brought in front of the judicial panel by the newcompliance officer (Tony McGlennan) and secondly that the judicial panel have found the player guilty of something that we do not believe to have taken place.
“It is truly mystifying that three people in a room at Hampden Park in Glasgow on a Thursday afternoon can see something that was not seen by the referee, first assistant, second assistant, fourth official, SPFLdelegate, the managers of either team, the players of either team including the alleged villain and victim not to mention the 11,168 supporters in the stadium.
“As part of our original defence submission we studied enlarged video footage to ensure our player was not guilty of such an offence. We were sound in our belief that no such action had taken place and we willcontinue to support the player in this matter through the appeal process.”
The sorry saga is certainly the last thing United manager Jackie McNamara needs before Sunday’s huge home match against Celtic. He now faces an anxious wait to see if he will have Paton available to face the Hoops. However,the SFA has since stated that United have no right of appeal because video evidence is involved.