BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
MIXU Paatelainen will definitely lead Dundee United out at Hampden for this weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-final after successfully having his SFA disciplinary case postponed.
The Tannadice manager was scheduled to appear before a Hampden hearing today to answer allegations of misconduct in last month’s tempestuous derby with city rivals Dundee.
The under-pressure Tangerines boss is accused of breaching disciplinary rule 203 by ‘shouting and gesticulating at away supporters on or around the 91st minute’ of the clubs’ 2-2 draw.
Paatelainen insisted stewards failed in their duties by not stopping Dundee supporters from raining down what he claims was “total and utter abuse” on him from the stand behind his dugout.
It made his side’s comeback from a two-goal deficit all the sweeter but his reaction at Billy McKay’s injury-time equaliser – when he celebrated by cupping his ear and gesticulating to the Dark Blues fans – did not go down well with the SFA.
Compliance officer Tony McGlennan issued the Finn with a notice of complaint, with a hearing set for today.
However, McGlennan has accepted a request from United for more time to prepare their case and it will now go ahead on the new date of Thursday, April 21.
Had Paatelainen been found guilty and given a touchline ban as punishment, the 49-year-old would have been forced to watch Saturday’s semi-final clash with former club Hibernian from the stand at Hampden.
The ex-Finland and Kilmarnock boss was initially surprised by suggestions he could find himself in hot water for the incident, but after being served with his notice of complaint insisted he was keen to plead his defence.
He said at the time: “There was no harm, there was no offensive stuff, there was nothing – just football banter.
“I will gladly go there and say exactly what happened and what the feelings were.”
Meanwhile, two other managers will appear at Hampden today to answer charges of misconduct.
St Mirren boss Alex Rae declined the offer of a one-match suspension after being accused of using ‘offensive, abusing or insulting language’ towards referee Barry Cook in the second-half of last month’s 2-1 defeat at home to Raith Rovers.
After the match Rae, who had been sent to the stand, said: “I was a bit frustrated with what I was watching and if I actually said what I wanted to say I would probably be thrown out of football.”
Cowdenbeath manager Colin Nish is also due to have his case heard after being dismissed from the dugout during his team’s 1-0 defeat to Fife rivals Dunfermline last month.
The former Hibs and Kilmarnock striker escaped with a suspended one-match ban back in January after getting himself into trouble with post-match comments made in the wake of the New Year Fife derby with the Pars on January 2.
He is again facing the possibility of a touchline suspension for alleged misconduct as his team battles to stave off relegation from League One with just three games remaining.