Livingston accept ‘fair outcome’ after SPFL rule they must replay IRN-BRU Cup win over Crusaders

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LIVINGSTON face being left heavily out of pocket after the SPFL ordered them to replay their IRN-BRU Cup tie with Crusaders for fielding an ineligible player.

But the Lions last night insisted they accept the ruling, branding it a ‘fair outcome’.

The West Lothian outfit stunned the Northern Irish champions with a dramatic 2-1 victory earlier this month when Scott Pittman earned them a quarter-final place with a winner five minutes into injury-time.

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However, it then emerged that defender Alan Lithgow had played the full 90 minutes in Belfast when he should have missed the match through suspension.

The former Hearts youngster picked up a two-match ban when he was sent-off in last month’s 3-1 defeat to East Fife and had served just one of his games before playing against Crusaders.

Livingston admitted the breach of the rules at a disciplinary hearing on Monday when a sub-committee of the SPFL met to consider the club’s charge.

The expectation was that they could be thrown out of the competition.

But, instead of barring the League One side from taking their place in the quarter-final, where they have been drawn to face Welsh champions The New Saints on November 13, they have instead been ordered to replay the match with Crusaders next Tuesday.

EXPENSES

In addition, the West Lothian club were censured and fined £4,000 – the fee they were originally given to help make the journey to Northern Ireland and which manager David Hopkin suggested at the time would not cover their expenses.

They now face shelling out another four-figure sum in travel and accommodation costs to replay the match.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “In the interests of sporting integrity and fairness to both sides, the game will be replayed.”

Livingston’s board met on Monday night and discussed the finding.

A statement read: “Livingston FC has accepted the SPFL’s decision and feel this is a fair outcome.

“The board, operational committee and management team apologise for what was a genuine misinterpretation of the rules and thank our loyal fans for their continued support.”

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