Smith hits back for SFA

13 April 2011 05:00

Former Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith has refuted claims the organisation is biased.

Paul McBride QC, who has represented Celtic manager Neil Lennon in front of the SFA, claimed the governing body was now "the laughing stock of world football" and accused them of favouring Rangers after Ally McCoist, Madjid Bougherra and El-Hadji Diouf all escaped bans following the explosive March 2 Old Firm derby.

Smith dismissed McBride's reaction to the decisions. Former Rangers striker Smith told BBC Scotland: "To say bias in favour of anybody, I don't think so. But it's hard to get that across. People have that mindset."

McCoist on Tuesday successfully appealed against a two-match ban after being charged with misconduct for clashing with Lennon - who was given a four-match suspension - after the Scottish Cup game at Celtic Park.

Bougherra and Diouf escaped with fines and a warning about their future conduct after facing the SFA's disciplinary committee to answer a case of "misconduct of a significantly serious nature".

But they were not handed any additional bans on top of their automatic one-match suspensions for the red cards they picked up in the game.

Smith added: "I never saw any evidence of any bias whatsoever in almost three years."

Lennon returned to the dugout on Tuesday night after McBride led a legal challenge which meant the four-match ban issued for the clash with McCoist could run concurrently with a prior four-match suspension, meaning the Bhoys boss was banished to the stand for a total of five games.

Smith insists the cases of the Celtic boss and the Rangers assistant manager were different. He added: "The two instances are not like-for-like.

"Neil Lennon admitted guilt by not appealing against the ban. Ally McCoist did appeal, his case was heard and he won that case."

Source: PA