Referee Ties SFA Disciplinary Panel's Hands
Calum Murray did not help the SFA when he gave evidence in the case against Madjid Bougherra Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson has suggested that referee Calum Murray gave the benefit of the doubt to Madjid Bougherra during his recent disciplinary hearing. Thompson sits on the SFA's disciplinary panel and said it would have been impossible to enforce a ban on Bougherra for placing his hands on the official during the Old Firm derby on 2 March 2. El-Hadji Diouf and Bougherra, along with team-mate Steven Whittaker, were all shown red cards in the 1-0 Scottish Cup defeat at Parkhead. The associated automatic suspensions will come into effect in next season's competition. On-loan Blackburn player Diouf was shown a yellow card for exchanging heated words with Celtic manager Neil Lennon on the touchline, before he earned an outright red card for dissent after approaching referee Murray after the final whistle. Instead of leaving the pitch, he then made his way to the Rangers fans and threw his shirt into the crowd. Bougherra was sent off deep in stoppage time for a second bookable offence and grabbed the official's arm in an attempt to prevent him from showing any card. The game ended with the now infamous touchline discussion between Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist and Lennon which triggered an automatic suspension the Celtic manager opted not to appeal. On 12 April Rangers assistant manager McCoist won his appeal against a two-game suspension and Bougherra and Diouf were fined and warned but avoided bans, with Thompson revealing Murray contributed to the outcomes of the rulings against the players. He said: "The referee handled the game very well, but he made it very difficult at the meeting for us when we said 'what other punishment would you hand down?' He said 'probably a booking, a one point'. "So how can we throw a three-match ban at him (Bougherra) for handling the referee when the referee would've given him a booking? He would've won it on appeal. If the match referee is only going to give a booking to him how could we then give him a three-match ban? The SFA got heavily criticised and they couldn't come out with what happened in the meeting because there is a seven-day appeal system. I'm not having a go at the referee at all I just think he made it very difficult for us."
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