Should Brechin be emptied from the Scottish Cup

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bobby s
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Should Brechin be emptied from the Scottish Cup

Post by bobby s » Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:42 am

I think they would be treated harshly if they are emptied after the light punishments dished out to Queen of the South and St Mirren in recent seasons for similar transgressions.

I also think Hamiltons part in this is pretty disgusting and more reminiscent of a pub league rather than the premier cup competition in Scotland.

Anyone for any other opinions?
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Post by Scottish » Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:37 pm

I don't really have a lot of sympathy for any of the parties. It's a pretty flagrant transgression of the rules by Brechin. At the same time Hamilton were apparently aware there were two ineligible players when they made their initial protest yet only cited one, 'saving' the other till later. The SFA made a decision one day then overruled their earlier decision less than 24 hours later.

If I were to be cynical about this I might think the decision to throw Brechin out is based more on avoiding any further fixture congestion (imagine a quarter-final draw throwing up a potential Aberdeen v Celtic/Rangers tie at a time when the Dons fifth round game had yet to be played, they have an outstanding League Cup semi-final, the Old Firm are both two games off the pace in the SPL and European competition is about to resume) than on any 'new' evidence having been found in the past day or so.

Also given the weather forecast there are no guarantees that the OF's weekend games will go ahead let alone the putative Brechin-Hamilton replay.

I think the original decision to replay the tie was sensible. The SFA haven't even caught up with their own decision. One column on their website says Brechin have been thrown out and another has Aberdeen down to play Brechin this Saturday.

Brechin will suffer big time. They draw around 9,000 through the turnstiles/hedges in the course of a league season and a share of a similar crowd at Pittodrie would have seen their income rise by 50% on the strength of this one match.

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Post by Skyline Drifter » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:24 pm

I remain completely bemused as to how we've arrived a situation where a club break the rules of the competition and are punished for it (we'll come back to what the punishment was later) and somehow the innocent party is now being villified for it. Hamilton broke no rules and even if they did report the rule breaking (which should after all have been caught by the SFA anyway) that in no way justifies comment like "Hamiltons part in this is pretty disgusting and more reminiscent of a pub league" which is utter nonsense really.

What in the Hell is the point of even having competition rules if clubs don't abide by them and people who point out the errors end up getting criticised too?

Here's the facts. Brechin fielded TWO ineligible players. A stupid error and only one of them (Michael Paton) was noticed on the night by Hamilton (by a player on the park in warm up as I understand it who then suggested secretary Scott Struthers check it out). They were called to account for that and it was always (given precedent of the Arbroath and Montrose game in 2000) going to result in a fine and a replay. Hamilton did not so far as I have read anywhere else know that Willie Dyer was ineligible and that emerged only yesterday courtesy of fan websites pointing it out I believe. It defied belief that Brechin went to an emergency hearing on the issue either covering up the second offence or without having then checked the rest of their squad for eligibility. I have no doubt if they'd confessed the issue at the first meeting they'd have received no additional punishment (perhaps a slight rise in the size of the fine). But the second incompetence which necessitated a further meeting was always going to lead to the SFA losing patience with them and they probably got the punishment they merited to be honest.

Brechin City alone are to blame for the position they find themselves in and attempts to spread some blame onto Hamilton for having the temerity to suggest that the rules be followed are frankly pathetic. It's not like Hamilton weren't affected by the same thing. It was widely reported in the press BEFORE the game that Simon Mensing wasn't able to play for them in the tie for exactly the same reason (he was signed after the date of the initial game). You'd think that might just have rung the odd bell in Angus at the time!

And while we're on the subject I'd also take issue with the suggestion that St Mirren and Queen of the South suffered "light punishment" for similar offences. In the first place neither was the same offence.

St Mirren were done on a technicality that they had u21 keeper Chris Smith on the bench of a tie against Spartans and failed to realise the Scottish Cup rules insist on two OUTFIELD u21 players being in the 16. That's an absolutely ridiculous rule in the first place to be honest on two fronts. Why the Hell should a team be forced to weaken its side potentially for some arbitrary age qualification. It's potentially illegal on discrimination grounds for that matter. Even letting that slide for the moment I have no idea what justification there is in suggesting goalkeepers are somehow lesser footballers and have to be exempted from this rule. Never the less, rule it is and St Mirren broke it (though there were mitigating circumstances). A £25k fine was well over the top for it though (it was reduced to £12.5k on appeal).

Our offence was worse than St Mirren's in my opinion (but no worse than Brechin's). We played Jamie Adams in two cup ties when he'd sat on the bench for Kilmarnock in the previous round. It was an oversight and we got rightly punished for it. It's not that we didn't know the rule (administratively anyway, whether McCall knew is debateable) but that we were assured he hadn't apeared for Kilmarnock and didn't check. I don't really have any great issue with the £20k we got fined which was probably fair enough but the offence wasn't uncovered until just before the cup final when there was a stramash about Tam McManus not being allowed to play for Dunfermline because he'd sat on the bench for Falkirk in the 3rd round. I've no doubt we'd have got a similar £10k fine and ordered to replay just as Brechin did had it actually been uncovered in time to do that and not three months later. I don't think £20k is "light" punishment by any stretch of the imagination. It's not like Adams had physically kicked a ball for two clubs in the Cup. He had sat on Kilmarnock's bench precisely to fulfil the same u21 players in the squad nonsense St Mirren fell foul of.

Incidentally, Gretna are also under investigation for this, though as they lost anyway there's no emergency meeting about it. They named at least one and possibly two ineligble players in their sixteen to face Morton on Monday. John Paul Kissock was a named sub but had signed only last Friday, well after the first tie. His ineligibility was noticed in the press box pre-match and after contact with Gretna he was pulled from the bench literally one minute before the game started and they operated with only four named subs. It has since emerged that Kyle Naughton, who played the game, may also have been ineligible but there's some confusion as to when he actually signed. He joined up with them after the first tie but the deal was announced before it. The SFA are investigating to see if he was also ineligible to play. If he was then I expect Gretna will also be fined. They might just get away with Kissock seeing as he was pulled out before the game actually kicked off.

If Morton had lost that game and a replay ordered would we be villifying the press for pointing out the error and, if not, why not? Why is that different to Hamilton doing it at Brechin?

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Post by Burnie_man » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:49 pm

For what reason is this rule in place (ie. if you sign a player between the original game and the replay, he is inelligible)?

Is it just another case of an obscure rule that has outlived its usefullness?

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Post by Scottish » Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:01 pm

Possibly to stop richer clubs from reinforcing their ranks? It was also at one time commonplace to sign loan players specifically for cup ties. For instance three of East Fife's cup-winning side of 1938 never kicked a ball for the club in the league.

Not that I'm still moaning, 70 years on.

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:02 pm

Humph, humph just `cos you lost a Cup Final to a team packed out with players innocent of playing league football for them. Queen`s WON the Cup, oh dozens of times, with players who never "kicked a ball in the league" for them!

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Post by LLD » Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:32 pm

A replayed replay was a sensible solution, and I reckon expelling Brechin is pretty harsh.

When was the last time a club was thrown out of the Cup. I can't recall any in my lifetime (born 1977 :D )

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Post by Scottish » Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:55 pm

LLD wrote:When was the last time a club was thrown out of the Cup. I can't recall any in my lifetime (born 1977 :D )
Airdrieonians in 2001

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Post by Skyline Drifter » Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:40 pm

scottish wrote:
LLD wrote:When was the last time a club was thrown out of the Cup. I can't recall any in my lifetime (born 1977 :D )
Airdrieonians in 2001
Which was another disgrace incidentally. you didn't want to get me started on that one! And they weren't thrown out technically, they withdrew.

Airdrieonians played ourseves in the 3rd round in that season. That was back in the days when the rules used to say you could only play players who had been signed 14 days before the cup tie (now the rule is you can sign up to noon on the day of it). It was back in the days when Archibald was running Airdrie with a predominantly foreign (mainly Spanish) team on month to month contracts while he worked through his "preferred bidder" status. In the run up to the tie it was uncovered that none of his foreign mercenaries were eligible to play in the tie technically as they'd all gone out of contract and not been re-signed in time due to a hold up. Technically they only had Eddie Forrest, Darren Brady and some kids to face us with. The SFA competition committee bent the rules to allow them to play. They didn't however allow us to play John O'Neill and Graham Connell who had been signed ten days before the tie. Rules were apparently only for bending for one team in the tie, not both :x

Anyway, the original tie was postponed and eventually was played on a wet monday night which only just got the go ahead. Airdrie were the better side and deserved the win they got but with five minutes left and Airdrie 2-1 up we got a penalty. I think if we'd scored it we'd have got the draw and all would have been different. Instead we missed it, Airdrie went up the other end and scored a penalty of their own (and then missed another one in injury time) and we were knocked out.

On Wednesday morning Blair Nimmo, having lost patience with a string of broken promises by Archibald, removed his status, locked Archibald out of the stadium and withdrew the club from the cup as he was unable to give an assurance they would fulfil fixtures in it.

Had we got that replay then on Wednesday night we'd have been advanced into a last 16 tie with then newly 3rd division Peterhead. Instead Peterhead were awarded a 4th round bye and a quarter final with Livingston (which we fancied our chances in).

It remains in my opinion a disgrace that Airdrie had the rules bent to enable them to knock us out but then we weren't reinstated when they were removed from the competition 36 hours later. It was equivalent to the SFA this morning throwing Brechin out but telling Hamilton they were still out too and awarding Aberdeen a bye to the last eight. An absolute nonsense.

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Post by Scottish » Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:59 am

Technically a withdrawal, yes but the headlines of the day were in doubt about the reality.

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Post by bobby s » Fri Feb 01, 2008 8:31 am

Skyline Drifter

I'd like to think that if Hibs were playing Rangers on Sunday and found out that Rangers had two players listed that they suspected were ineligible they would bring it to the attention of the referee and/or Rangers so the matter would be resolved before a ball was kicked. Hamilton apparently chose not to do this, that's up to them. Actually, Rangers this weekend is probably a bad example.

Certainly, last season when you played an ineligible player against Cowdenbeath and Hibs [to my knowledge] neither team brought the matter to the SFA attention.

I agree that the people running clubs should know the rules: there is no excuse for the incompetence shown by several clubs in the last couple of seasons. I don't really agree that St Mirren's offence was lessor: either you comply with the rules or you don't.

Surprisingly all the transgressors listed above have won: which makes me wonder just how many transgressions are never brought to light because they lost the tie.

I feel for Brechin because I suppose I think of it as the players and the fans being punished for an officials incompetence: especially as there seems no recent precedent for throwing teams out. I agree with David above, that the solution seems to be all too convenient to fit in with the fixture congestion issues that have arisen in the past few weeks.
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Post by Skyline Drifter » Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:15 pm

bobby s wrote:Skyline Drifter

I'd like to think that if Hibs were playing Rangers on Sunday and found out that Rangers had two players listed that they suspected were ineligible they would bring it to the attention of the referee and/or Rangers so the matter would be resolved before a ball was kicked. Hamilton apparently chose not to do this, that's up to them. Actually, Rangers this weekend is probably a bad example.

Certainly, last season when you played an ineligible player against Cowdenbeath and Hibs [to my knowledge] neither team brought the matter to the SFA attention.
Firstly, the referee has very little to do with the issue of eligibility to participate in the tie. Bringing it to his attention is largely irrelevant.

You know that Hamilton knew pre-match that Paton was ineligible do you? Because that's contrary to everything else that's been said (and they didn't know Dyer was ineligible at all). Even if they did, it's still not greatly their problem and damning them as a "pub team" doesn't change the facts.

Neither team complained about our player (Jamie Adams) because they didn't know about it. Neither did we quite patently or we wouldn't have played him. I don't really know what you're point is here? They most certainly would have brought it up if they'd known, or Cowdenbeath certainly would have since they lost and complained bitterly about it months later when they did find out (and rightly so). Hibs presumably wouldn't have cared too much since they won anyway. Is Scott Struthers actually STILL being condemned for having the temerity to both know the rules AND be aware they'd been broken? Is he expected to sit on his hands and ignore it because it's just not cricket to complain about other teams not playing by the rules? Like I said above then, why bother with rules at all?

Hamilton did nothing wrong here. Period.

And as for losers being investigated, Gretna are under investigation for playing one and naming another ineligible player in their sixteen v Morton on Monday. It just hasn't made nay major headlines because they lost and it doesn't need an emergency meeting to deal with it.

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