BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
DAVID HOPKIN has revealed that Livingston have appealed against the eight-game ban dished out to midfielder Shaun Byrne for a breach of SFA gambling regulations.
The 23-year-old was hit with the suspension at a Hampden hearing last week after he admitted an infringement of disciplinary rules 22, 31 and 33 due to bets placed in the past six years.
Although Byrne did not contest the charge, the club have been taken aback by the severity of the punishment, which ordered he miss the club’s next five fixtures and imposed an additional suspended three-game ban that runs until summer 2018.
Former Cowdenbeath player Dean Brett – whose case was heard on the same day as Byrne’s – was given an immediate four-game ban, with a further three matches suspended, after betting on 6369 fixtures, including backing his own team to lose on eight occasions.
Byrne will now be available until the appeal is heard by the SFA, with the former Dunfermline midfielder turning in a fine display in Livi’s 1-0 win over Stenhousemuir on Tuesday evening.
Although reluctant to prejudice the case by addressing the matter in detail, Livingston manager Hopkin did pay tribute to the midfielder.
He said: “It’s gone to an appeal so that is why Shaun was able to play in midweek. It’s now something that the club and SFA will sort out, so we can’t say too much about it.
“I think, if you look back, this is something that has been on Shaun’s mind for six months, so he has done great to get through it.”