'An injustice' - Gary Lineker backs James Keatings over controversial red card that rules him out of cup final

Ex-England international has his say over incident

Gary Lineker backed James Keatings over the incident
Gary Lineker backed James Keatings over the incident

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker has waded into the row over James Keatings' red card and subsequent failed appeal.

The former England, Everton and Leicester City striker was moved to respond after reading the lengthy statement published by Inverness Caledonian Thistle and viewing footage of the incident.

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Keatings, who featured as a substitute for Hibs when they won the Scottish Cup in 2016 after a 114-year wait, received a second caution and subsequent red card after he was adjudged by referee Greg Aitken to have dived when he hit the deck under a challenge from Rangers Colts midfielder Ciaran Dickson in the Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup semi-final.

TV replays appeared to show contact between Dickson and Keatings but despite an appeal, the Scottish FA rejected the Caley Jags' bid to overturn the red card meaning the 28-year-old misses the Challenge Cup final against Raith Rovers. Tweeting footage of the incident, Keatings commented: "So now I miss a cup final".

Lineker, commenting on Twitter, said: "Not even close to a dive. Would be an injustice to miss a cup final for this."

Inverness chief executive Scot Gardiner and chairman Ross Morrison said in the lengthy statement: "This decision has cost our player the chance to play in a national cup final, not something that comes along every week, to the detriment of the player, his team mates, the club and our fans.

"James Keatings has never been booked for simulation in his entire career and Sunday’s red card was also the first in his career.

"The player himself was devastated by the decision on Sunday and has been contacted by many players, ex-players, the PFA and multiple journalists and friends, all of whom believed that justice would be done by the panel. This scenario represented the exact situation that these protocols were set up to address.

"We believe it also damages the credibility of our governing body and brings the game into disrepute. The decision is plainly wrong and the dogs in the street know this. We have no right to appeal this final decision and it is painful to accept. "