BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Falkirk manager Peter Houston has been punished with a touchline ban after being found guilty by the SFA of a disciplinary rule breach for his criticism of referee John McKendrick earlier this month.
The Bairns boss was hit with a notice of complaint following remarks made to Falkirk TV in the wake of his side’s controversial 3-1 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox and appeared before a disciplinary hearing at Hampden yesterday.
Houston was left upset by the late free-kick awarded to Rangers from which James Tavernier gave the home side a 2-1 advantage and also at the lack of action taken against Danny Wilson for a foul on Craig Sibbald in the opening seconds of the match.
Referring to the challenge on Sibbald, the former Scotland number two told his club’s TV channel: “If that had been a Falkirk player I’m convinced our player would have been booked in the first minute.”
Having been accused of breaching rule 72 Houston appeared before the panel to argue his case and admitted an amended charge of ‘criticising the decisions and performance of the match officials in such a way as to indicate bias and incompetence on their part’.
However, despite highlighting his clean record as a manager and assistant with Hearts, Dundee United, Leicester City and Scotland, the 57-year-old failed to escape with the same kind of suspended sentence handed down to Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson for a similar rule breach.
Instead, he landed an immediate one-match suspension, with a further one game to be served should he be guilty of another breach of rule 72 this season.
The Falkirk boss will now not be able to sit in the dugout for tomorrow’s home encounter with St Mirren but is hopeful his side can still extend their current 11 point advantage over the Buddies.
He said: “They’re a good side and this is going to be one of our hardest games.
“But we’re 11 points ahead of them just now and I would say the pressure’s more on them to get three points than us against them, because it’s them that have got to try and catch us.
“It’s our home match and we’ll be looking to take the game to them but we know the threat and the danger they’ll be to us because they’re getting their act together and they will, at some stage in the season, hit a run of games where they’ll win.”