Brechin facing expulsion from Scottish Cup

BRECHIN City could be thrown out of the Scottish Cup today after it emerged they fielded two ineligible players in their fourth-round tie against Hamilton.

The Second Division club were fined 10,000 and had their 2-1 victory over Hamilton invalidated by the Scottish Football Association yesterday morning, as punishment for fielding on-loan Aberdeen player Michael Paton in Monday's match.

The SFA ordered the replay to be played again on Saturday, however it has since emerged that Brechin's Willie Dyer should also have played no part in the match.

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Like Paton, Dyer joined Brechin between the two games against Hamilton, and the SFA has called a second emergency committee meeting, to be held this morning.

Dyer signed after the first game on 12 January but was included in the team for the replayed match.

The first emergency meeting went ahead yesterday morning and Brechin avoided expulsion from the competition.

The SFA confirmed in a statement: "Following fresh evidence that became available late this afternoon concerning the eligibility of players in the Brechin City v Hamilton Academical Scottish Cup fourth-round tie, a further meeting of the emergency committee will take place.

"Scottish FA officials are investigating the possibility that more than one ineligible player was fielded by Brechin City. Further details will be made available in due course."

Whoever progresses from the tie will face Aberdeen, but the Dons' involvement in the Uefa Cup and CIS Cup means the fifth round tie almost certainly won't be played until March unless the SFA's emergency meeting declares Brechin must be thrown out, paving the way for Hamilton to go to Pittodrie on Saturday as was originally scheduled.

Aberdeen do not have a free midweek throughout February. They face Dundee United in the CIS Cup semi-final next Tuesday after the tie was postponed earlier this week due to a waterlogged pitch at Tynecastle. They then face Bayern Munich in the last 32 of the Uefa Cup in the following two midweeks, and have a Premier League clash against Motherwell at Pittodrie scheduled for 27 February.

Despite this, manager Jimmy Calderwood welcomed the SFA's initial decision to have the Brechin-Hamilton game replayed on Saturday. "It gives us a bit of respite at this moment in time but we'll probably be complaining in about three or four weeks," said Calderwood, speaking before news of a second SFA emergency meeting came through.

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"I think it's a sensible decision. We'd hoped they would have got it done quicker and they could have played the game (last night] but it wasn't to be."

Despite the heavy workload, Calderwood is looking forward to the next five weeks.

"It is going to be hectic but it means you're involved in everything and that's good," he said.

He recognised it would be tricky to cram in the clash with Hamilton or Brechin. "Probably the earliest date now is more than a month away. Because of our fixtures it's very difficult."