BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has been found guilty of implying “bias or incompetence” following his comments regarding referee WiIllie Collum – but has escaped an immediate touchline ban.
The SFA last night ruled that the Jambos boss had breached Disciplinary Rule 72 during an interview following Collum’s contentious handling of their 3-2 defeat against Hamilton on August 29.
Neilson was handed a two-match ban, suspended for the rest of the season, meaning he will be free to take his place in the dugout for Saturday’s Premiership meeting with Kilmarnock.
The suspension will only take affect if Neilson commits another breach of the same rule before the end of the 2015/16 campaign.
Controversy erupted following following the clash at New Douglas Park when Callum Paterson was shown a red card, which was later rescinded, for a challenge on Darian MacKinnon.
That prompted Neilson to reveal his side had trained with 10 men prior to the fixture due to Collum’s disciplinarian style.
The offending interview saw him tell the BBC: “We actually practised during the week going down to 10 men because of the environment we’re coming to and the officials who are taking the game. The statistics involving the officials have shown a lot of red cards against us, so we have to prepare for it.”
That lead to a notice of complaint from SFA Compliance Officer Tony McGlennan and, following a lengthy hearing at Hampden yesterday, a disciplinary panel found Neilson guilty.