Ryan Stevenson will serve a three-match suspension just a month after picking up a two-game ban following Hearts’ decision not to appeal his red card from the weekend’s defeat at Dundee United.
RYAN Stevenson will serve a three-match suspension just a month after picking up a two-game ban following Hearts’ decision not to appeal his red card from the weekend’s defeat at Dundee United.
The Tynecastle club branded the 28-year-old’s 25th-minute sending off, for a studs-up challenge on Gary Mackay-Steven, harsh and considered contesting the decision. Manager John McGlynn said after the game he was hopeful Willie Collum’s ruling had not been influenced by the referee’s failure to discipline the midfielder for a similar tackle on James McPake in the New Year derby against Hibernian
Asked if he thought that incident had played a part on Saturday, the manager said: “I don’t know, I would hope not.”
Stevenson was retrospectively handed a two-game ban by an SFA fast track tribunal on that occasion, resulting in him missing out on the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out win over Inverness Caley Thistle. This time he will be sidelined for three matches – at home to Kilmarnock and Inverness, and away to St Mirren – following Saturday’s dismissal.
The latest censure treats his subsequent suspension following the 0-0 draw with Hibs on 3 January as a red card, with SFA rules meaning a further match out is added to each future indiscretion.
In another blow for Hearts, McGlynn has admitted he fears skipper Marius Zaliukas may be ruled out for weeks after sustaining an ankle injury against United. The Lithuania internationalist hobbled off after twisting his ankle in the wake of an aerial challenge with Johnny Russell in the 19th minute at Tannadice. McGlynn said: “The doctor put him in a kind of cast and he’ll be going for an X-ray and whatever else it needs, but it’s not looking good.”
Meanwhile, former Hearts striker Craig Beattie is desperate to recover from his St Johnstone nightmare and prove he still has the ability that made him an English Premier League player just four years ago. The 29-year-old yesterday joined English League 2 side Barnet following his release last month from Saints, where he managed just four substitute’s appearances.
The former Celtic and Scotland striker enjoyed something of a rejuvenation last season when he helped Hearts to win the Scottish Cup, but was recently rejected by Notts County because of a lack of fitness. He said: “It did not work out this season but that is behind me now and I am looking forward to a new challenge. The past few months have been a difficult time for me because as a footballer the only thing you want to be doing is playing games. Now I am here all I want to do is get on the pitch and score goals.”