Frazer Wright will now miss St Johnstone’s European decider after losing his appeal against a two-match ban for violent conduct.
A Scottish Football Association disciplinary panel yesterday upheld the decision by compliance officer Vincent Lunny to refer Wright for elbowing Celtic’s Mikael Lustig.
The centre-back appeared to catch Lustig with an arm as the pair attacked the ball at a Saints corner during Celtic’s 4-0 win on Saturday.
St Johnstone host Motherwell on Sunday needing to win to have any chance of pipping Inverness to third place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and the Europa League spot that comes with it.
Saints manager Steve Lomas had earlier claimed Wright had caught his opponent accidentally. Lomas said: “I’ve looked at the incident several times and I don’t see how they can say Frazer is guilty of violent conduct. He’s jumping for the ball and anyone who has ever played football at any level will tell you that you can’t do that with your arms at your sides.”
Lomas argued that players were being unjustly dealt with because incidents had been highlighted on BBC Scotland’s highlight package. “The system seems to centre around whatever appears on Sportscene,” the Northern Irishman said. “So who is making these decisions? Is it the Sportscene editor? I have seen loads of incidents this season that could have been called up but weren’t because they didn’t appear on the telly on a Sunday night.”