St Mirren’s Goncalves accepts two-match diving ban

ST MIRREN striker Esmael Goncalves has accepted a two-match ban after he was accused of diving to win his side a penalty in Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Celtic.

The Saints frontman was issued with a Notice of Complaint by the Scottish Football Association’s compliance officer following the 1-1 draw in Paisley. The Portuguese won a spot-kick for the home side when he went to ground following a challenge by Emilio Izaguirre, which Paul McGowan converted to level Kris Commons’ early opener.

On-loan Rio Ave striker Goncalves has breached rule 202 which refers to “causing a match official to make an incorrect decision by committing an act of simulation” and will now miss this Saturday’s Fir Park fixture with Motherwell and the Buddies’ first game after the SPL split.

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon raged at the “appalling” performance of referee Bobby Madden after the controversial encounter. On the Goncalves incident, Lennon said: “The penalty St Mirren did get was outside the box and there is no contact.”

Meanwhile, Rangers defender Chris Hegarty has accepted a two-match ban for stamping on an opponent during his team’s goalless draw at Montrose.

Hegarty was given until yesterday to respond to the SFA notice of complaint but informed Lunny that he has accepted the charge.

The incident is believed to have occurred just after the half-hour mark in Saturday’s Links Park draw, which ultimately proved enough for Rangers to clinch the Irn-Bru Third Division title after Elgin City beat second-placed Queen’s Park.

The 20-year-old Northern Irishman will now sit out Sunday’s trip to Hampden, where Rangers will take on Queen’s Park, and the Ibrox meeting with Clyde on 13 April.

Hegarty has made 27 first-team appearances for Rangers this season.