ST JOHNSTONE striker Steven MacLean will face no action for his goal celebration during Saturday’s 4-2 defeat to Ross County – thanks to a summer shake-up of the SFA rules.
The former Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday player volleyed in with 10 minutes remaining to haul Saints back to 3-2 before they succumbed to a late Liam Boyce clincher for County.
Footage of the 34-year-old’s goal celebration was highlighted on BBC’s Sportscene programme showing the marksman twice directing an underarm gesture, and appearing to swear, in the direction of the McDiarmid Park main stand.
The discussion recalled the fact James McFadden had been handed a two-match ban when playing for the Perth club after making a similar gesture to supporters when he was red-carded in a 1-0 defeat at home to Hamilton last year.
Leigh Griffiths and Pat Fenlon are amongst those to have fallen foul of the SFA for rude signals in previous seasons.
MacLean responded by insisting he had singled out his dad, Gus, after he had been winding him up about his performances in the car on the way to the game.
He claimed it would be a ‘nonsense’ if the SFA disciplined him for the celebration.
However, it has emerged that a rule change means the compliance officer can no longer take retrospective action against anyone deemed guilty of the A5 offence of ‘offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures’ – unless there has been ‘excessive misconduct’.
The change was ratified at the start of the season by the SFA’s rules revisions committee after recommendations by a working group comprising of representatives of the clubs, referees, PFA Scotland, SPFL and the SFA.
It is understood compliance officer Tony McGlennan was satisfied MacLean had used an offensive gesture and/or language. That would have been enough in previous seasons for a disciplinary case to have been brought against MacLean.
However, as he was not deemed to have been guilty of excessive misconduct, the compliance officer has no grounds to take any action under the new laws.