In the same week that Neil Doncaster and his lawyer met with representatives of the Celtic Supporters Association to explain how the league cannot punish Rangers for a decade or more of cheating the taxman, fielding ineligible players and concealing side letters from the football authorities and HMRC, the same body, the Scottish Professional Football League has opened disciplinary proceedings against Albion Rovers, after the League One side fielded an ineligible player during their Challenge Cup victory over Spartans.
Liam McGuigan was on the Rovers bench for the first-round tie on Tuesday.
Rovers won 5-4 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes.
Despite Rovers winning both teams are currently in the second-round draw which is scheduled to take place at 1pm today at the Falkirk Wheel, pending the outcome of the proceedings.
The SPFL website have added two stars after Albion Rovers in the list of teams and explain the ** at the end of their release as follows:
** Disciplinary proceedings have commenced against Albion Rovers, who fielded an ineligible player in their game against Spartans on Tuesday, which Albion Rovers won on penalties.
The problem for Doncaster is that whenever these matters arise in the game, as they do from time to time, then the evidence presented to the Lord Nimmo Smith Enquiry and the subsequent findings will always be dragged up.
There is little doubt that the Albion Rovers player was listed innocently enough and that someone simply made an error. However the rules of the game should be applied.
In this case, in the case of Legia Warsaw when they did something similar against Celtic and UEFA applied the rules and in all cases where these mistakes – which are mostly innocent enough – happen.
We are looking at Scottish football moving to an era when a small innocent mistake is (rightly) punished but a decade of industrial scale fielding of ineligible players is forgiven without punishment due to the SPFL’s own flawed Lord Nimmo Smith enquiry.
No wonder supporters of club across Scotland are looking at a Judicial Review in the LNS enquiry.