BILEL Mohsni is likely to be handed a lengthy suspension by the SFA which will be applied in any league in world football for his role in the ugly scenes at Fir Park on Sunday.
The Tunisian international defender will be issued with a notice of complaint from SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan within the next 48 hours and is set to be charged with excessive misconduct for kicking and punching Motherwell striker Lee Erwin during the second leg of the Scottish Premiership play-off final.
It was Mohsni’s final appearance for Rangers who yesterday branded his actions “completely unacceptable” and stated they would have taken their own disciplinary steps against him had he remained at the club.
The 27-year-old’s contract expired yesterday and will not be renewed, with his agent revealing his next move will be outside the United Kingdom.
But that will not spare Mohsni from whatever punishment an SFA Judicial Panel decides is suitable. The SFA retains his registration and will ensure any ban is upheld by whatever national association jurisdiction Mohsni comes under next in his career.
It is not anticipated that any further action will be taken against either Erwin or his Motherwell team-mate Fraser Kerr for their roles in the incident following the full-time whistle at Fir Park after Rangers had slumped to a 6-1 aggregate defeat.
“Had his contract not now expired, the club would have started disciplinary proceedings”Rangers statement
Erwin initially shoved Mohsni in the back, prompting his violent retaliation, while Kerr then grappled with the Rangers player. Along with Mohsni, Erwin and Kerr were shown red cards by referee Craig Thomson in the dressing rooms but it is not believed the Motherwell duo will face any additional misconduct charges.
Motherwell themselves will come under scrutiny for several incidents of crowd disorder at the match. A flare was thrown onto the pitch after their first goal and Rangers captain Lee McCulloch was struck in the face by a home supporter wielding a rolled up flag. Motherwell fans then invaded the pitch at the final whistle, racing across to taunt the visiting Rangers support. Mounted police moved in to restore order.
Those incidents come under the authority of the Scottish Professional Football League who will assess various reports of the game this week. But the SPFL have previously been reluctant to punish clubs for the behaviour of supporters, so long as they are satisfied all reasonable steps had been taken to try to prevent disorder.
A spokesman for the SPFL said: “We expect to receive the match delegate’s report, including input from officials and police, within the next few days and will review this in the normal manner.”
Rangers released a brief statement confirming their willingness to take part in any investigation. They also praised their own fans for not reacting to the Motherwell supporters who invaded the pitch.
“Rangers Football Club will co-operate fully with investigations following the disgraceful scenes at the Motherwell game yesterday,” read the statement.
“Bilel Mohsni’s behaviour was completely unacceptable and had his contract not now expired, the club would have started disciplinary proceedings.
“The club will also assist with any investigation into the behaviour of Motherwell supporters and we would like to thank the Rangers fans who were excellent in showing admirable restraint despite severe provocation.”
Mohsni’s agent, Jerome Dakad, admitted his client has a “problem” with his temperament but was also critical of Erwin’s part in the post-match furore.
“I had a quick few words with Bilel yesterday after the game and we have exchanged messages,” said Dakad.
“I’ve seen the incident and it is clear he has made a mistake. His reaction was wrong – there is no doubt about that. But I don’t see any reason for the other guy to taunt him. It was a bit stupid. They had won the game. There was no point pushing Bilel. Just leave it.
“Bilel has lost the game, then the guy has pushed him from behind. What was he expecting? You can’t forgive the reaction of Bilel but what should he have done? Obviously it has happened to Bilel which is unfortunate, but if it happened to somebody else, what would they have done?
“He won’t be staying at Rangers after that but I can’t tell you where he is going to end up because I don’t know. But he will leave the country, that’s for sure now.
“Do I worry that this will put other clubs off taking a chance on him? The clubs in the UK, yes. Abroad is a bit different but his reputation in the UK has been altered now.
“His career in Britain is over. But that is the way it is. For the people who know Bilel off the pitch, he is a very nice boy. But it is difficult to know what goes on in his mind sometimes.
“He has got to be able to deal with his frustration better. That’s his problem. I’ve known him for many years. The potential is there, the quality is there. But he can switch off at times.
“Bilel regrets his reaction but he is an uncompromising and very straightforward man. He sometimes pays for that.
“He really wanted to win promotion and the frustration is huge. He also thinks he could have contributed more. He is devastated just now.”
Mohsni previously received two and three-match bans respectively for incidents of violent conduct in matches against Derby County striker Chris Martin and Hibs defender Liam
Fontaine while playing for Rangers.
But speaking to the Scottish Sun yesterday, he was unrepentant about his clash with Erwin and disputed the Motherwell man’s claim that he had sworn at him after declining the offer of a handshake.
“He deserved it,” said Mohsni. “The only thing I regret is that kids were watching but everyone would have that reaction when someone pushes you like he did.
“He should have been happy and singing because Motherwell will be playing in the
Premiership next season, not Rangers.
“Instead he pushed me, so I hit back. The player came to me and I said ‘I’m not going to shake your hand, all the best’.
“I just wanted off the pitch. I know fans will say I am a disgrace but I don’t understand why a player who had just won a game like that would push me.
“I have been thinking ‘what did I do to annoy him?’ I didn’t swear. I just said I wasn’t going to shake his hand.”