All uphill for Jefferies' side SFA kick Hearts' cup appeal into touch
By IAN PAUL and KEN GALLACHER
17 Sep 1996
HEARTS have failed in a last-ditch attempt to have three of the four players ordered off at the weekend made available for the Cola-Cola Cup quarter-final against Celtic at Tynecastle tonight.
The Edinburgh club formally asked the SFA to suspend the automatic disciplinary procedures for a trio of players pending the full inquiry that the club wants into the controversial events of Saturday, when they were left with seven men in the league game against Rangers at Ibrox.
In exceptional circumstances the disciplinary committee can put suspensions on hold, in the case of clear mistaken identity, for instance, but the rulers saw no reason to allow a dispensation in the Ibrox situation.
It is understood that Hearts raised objections to three of the red cards, those of Pasquale Bruno, who was ordered off for persistent fouling, Neil Pointon (dissent), and Paul Ritchie (foul and abusive language), but did not request a stay of suspension for the sending-off of David Weir (violent conduct).
There was never much chance that the Tynecastle wish for a delay would be granted, but their request for an inquiry is certain to be met, as the disciplinary committee were bound to instigate one by themselves in any case.
Once the reports from the referee and his assistants, as well as the supervisor, are received, the normal letter to the club for its comments will be issued, and afterwards an inquiry will begin.
There also will be a separate investigation into the encroachment on to the technical area by the Tynecastle chairman, Chris Robinson.
Hearts, who remained silent all weekend about the events at Ibrox, which were screened by BBC TV, issued a statement yesterday which said: "The board, officials, and players of Heart of Midlothian have considered in detail the whole circumstances surrounding last Saturday's fixture with Rangers FC.
"Certain issues of player conduct are being addressed internally.
There were, however, many aspects surrounding the handling of the game which caused us great concern and, suffice to say, we have formally asked the SFA to investigate them." Manager Jim Jefferies, meantime, has to conjure up a team to meet Celtic and, while Steve Frail and Alan McManus appear obvious replacements for two of the four absentees, two other substitutes will be more difficult to decide.
It may be that teenager Gary Naismith will get his chance after having shown up well in the reserves, and the manager could use Gary Mackay or Italian Stefano Salvatori as a sweeper or, alternatively, revert to a back four.
Jeremy Goss, who has had a reserve outing after having been out with a groin injury, could be recalled and, as well as Naismith, youngsters Stewart Callaghan and Grant Miller are added to the pool.
"We will not be sitting back because we lack numbers," said Jefferies.
"We will be having a go at Celtic.
Obviously the loss of four players is not ideal for such a match, but it gives an opportunity for those who come in to show what they can do.
Sometimes when the chips are down it can work in your favour." Celtic manager Tommy Burns would agree.
"Hearts will react to the fact they have lost these players.
They will feel hard done to." Burns also has had his problems, with a posse of players missing from defence and midfield, Alan Stubbs, Tosh McKinlay, suspended Brian O'Neil, Paul McStay, and Phil O'Donnell.
He adds Stuart Gray to the squad and will check on the fitness of Jorge Cadete this morning.
The Portuguese striker has an ankle injury.
"Any time the Old Firm go to Tynecastle it is difficult and I know we will have to do our work," said Burns, "but I hope we win earlier than we did at Tannadice on Saturday." Celtic got home there with a goal by Malcolm Mackay in injury time.
Meanwhile, Celtic's hopes in Europe received a double boost before their UEFA Cup second-leg against Hamburg.
The Germans have been upset by the transfer-listing of midfield player Jens Dowe and an injury to keeper Richard Golz, which will keep him out of the Celtic match a week today.
Dowe had a half-time disagreement with coach Felix Magath during the 2-0, first-leg win in Glasgow and has now been axed from the club.
Magath berated the player's first-half performance at Parkhead, prompting Dowe to tell his manager to shut up.
The 28-year-old was immediately substituted with Jurgen Hartmann taking his place.
On their return to Germany, internal club talks took place, and Dowe has been told he will never again play for Hamburg.
If that was not bad enough for Magath, it now looks certain he will have to do without skipper Golz.
The keeper injured a shoulder in the derby win over St Pauli on Sunday.
Taken from the Herald