[media-credit name=”© SFL” align=”alignleft” width=”480″][/media-credit]Last season former Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra escaped with a fine for man-handling the referee twice in the so-called Old Firm shame game.
Coughlin slammed the decision: “The punishment seems excessive. There is a lack of balance in the decisions handed out to Rangers and East Stirling.”
East Stirling defender Frances was handed the whopping ban after he tried to grab referee Barry Cook and then refused to leave the pitch after he was sent off in a game against Buckie Thistle last month.
However Coughlin claims that his player’s behaviour was no worse than Bougherra’s antics back in March when he grabbed referee Calum Murray when he sent off Steven Whittaker and later when he sent the Algerian off against Celtic. Bougherra escaped with a fine and a warning from Scotland’s governing body, while Frances will now sit out the next two months serving his ban.
Coughlin stated that he did not condone his player’s behaviour, but insists that the sanction does not add up when you look at Bougherra’s from last season.
Coughlin told the Scottish Sun: “I’ve seen the DVD of the incident and I’ll be honest, it doesn’t make for good viewing. But everyone who has seen it has said it’s similar to the way Bougherra reacted when he was sent off against Celtic. I remember watching it on TV at the time and I would have to agree. I don’t know who sat on this disciplinary panel compared to that one.”
“But as a club we’ll accept the punishment because we don’t condone what Ryan did.”
The SFA confirmed that the player had been charged with ‘excessive misconduct involving violent conduct, dissent, the use of offensive, insulting and abusive language and the adoption of aggressive behaviour towards a match official.’
An East Stirlingshire club spokesperson said: “Ryan has been informed by the club that his behaviour in this incident was unacceptable. He has apologised for his conduct to the club, coaches and his team mates. He repeated that apology to the SFA Disciplinary Panel.
“He has also been informed that it is likely the club will take its own disciplinary action over this incident, now that the SFA procedures have been concluded.”