Aberdeen opt not to contest Pawlett ban for simulation

Peter Pawlett has been punished for simulation after this fall won a penalty against Hibs
Peter Pawlett has been punished for simulation after this fall won a penalty against Hibs
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Aberdeen will not challenge the two-match ban offered to Peter Pawlett by the Scottish Football Association for simulation. Pawlett appeared to go down easily in winning a controversial penalty during his team’s 1-0 win over Hibernian at the weekend.

The second-half spot-kick was awarded by referee Craig Thomson – after ruling the Dons player was fouled by Ivan Sproule – and converted by Scott Vernon to give the Pittodrie side a crucial three points in their battle to move away from the lower reaches of the SPL.

A statement from Aberdeen yesterday confirmed: “Aberdeen Football Club has decided not to appeal against the two-match ban handed out to winger Peter Pawlett by the SFA for ‘simulation’ when the side was awarded a penalty against Hibs at Pittodrie on Saturday.”

Manager Craig Brown told the club’s website that he saw no point in trying to contest the ban, explaining: “Given referee Craig Thomson, to his eternal credit, is reported in the press to have held his hands up publicly and admitted he made a mistake in awarding the spot kick, there seems no point in pursuing a course of action that has little chance of succeeding and would also cost the club money.”

Aberdeen, though, will appeal against the red card shown to Pawlett later in the game against Hibs. The 20-year-old midfielder was sent off for a sliding challenge on Lewis Stevenson, and the Dons’ appeal against the dismissal will be dealt with by a fast-track tribunal today.

“We are, of course, totally convinced that the red card administered to Peter was totally unjust, and was given by the assistant not the referee,” said Brown. “We await the outcome of our appeal with interest.”

With yesterday’s decision not to appeal the ban for simulation, Pawlett will miss the Christmas Eve trip to Inverness and the visit of Hearts four days later. Brown added: “He’s an honest, unassuming young lad who is trying to make his way in the game and doesn’t deserve all the crap he’s had to deal with in the last few days. But, on the positive side, he will learn from this incident.”

Motherwell, meanwhile, have rejected the two-match ban offered to Steve Jennings by the SFA. The midfielder, like Pawlett, was this week issued with a notice of complaint by the governing body’s compliance officer, and offered the standard punishment, following an altercation with Jim Goodwin in Saturday’s 1-1 SPL draw with St Mirren.

The Saints midfielder was also issued with a notice of complaint for his part in the incident, with television pictures appearing to show a punch from Goodwin into the stomach of Jennings.

St Mirren confirmed on Tuesday that they had accepted the sanctions offered to Goodwin but Motherwell have opted to fight Jennings’ own ban.

The matter will now be referred to the Judicial Panel and a fast track tribunal will be convened today. A statement from Motherwell confirmed: “Motherwell today notified the SFA of the club’s intent to contest the fixed two-match suspension offered to Steve Jennings.

“The club will make no further comment until after that process has been complete.”

Today is a busy one for the SFA. As well as the Pawlett red card appeal and the Jennings case, Dunfermline Athletic manager Jim McIntyre will find out if he is to face a touchline ban following criticism of Steve Conroy after his side’s 2-1 defeat to Rangers earlier this month.

The East End Park manager was angered by the decision to award Rangers a penalty in the defeat at Ibrox, describing it as “never a penalty in a month of Sundays”. McIntyre was subsequently charged with breaching rule 68, which prevents players, managers or club staff from ‘criticising the performance(s) of any or all match official(s) in such a way as to indicate bias or incompetence’.

But, having turned down the ‘offer’ of a two-match ban from the SFA’s compliance officer Vincent Lunny, the case will now be heard by the governing body’s judicial panel. Sone Aluko, who won the penalty, has since served a two-match ban for simulation.

Also today, Dundee’s Stephen O’Donnell, who appealed against the red card he picked up against Ross County at the weekend for a challenge on Iain Vigurs, will have his case heard.