BOROUGHMUIR prop Tommy McGee has been banned for seven weeks after head-butting an opponent in a home game with Stirling County on February 8.
The decision by a Scottish Rugby Union disciplinary committee last night paves the way for the 23-year-old to resume playing in time to stake further claims for a professional contract with Edinburgh Rugby before the end of the season.
The incident, which disrupted McGee’s progress towards a deal with the Gunners, came five minutes in to the second half of a match ’Muir were leading 20-10 and went on to win 42-17.
"I am disappointed because I want to be playing but the suspension could have been worse," said McGee, who has always protested his innocence.
The official Boroughmuir web-site claims the player was "shown red for retaliation".
Today’s revelations will be eagerly awaited by Edinburgh Rugby, whose manager, Ian Rankin, has indicated that McGee is in line for a deal next season.
McGee was due to represent Edinburgh’s back-up squad immediately after the match in which he was sent off but had to sit out the fixture awaiting the disciplinary process.
The Thurso-born player will also be available to play in the later stages of this season’s domestic club competitions, if selected, as ’Muir attempt to seal a league and cup double.
Meanwhile, French manager Jo Maso has urged his side not to underestimate Scotland when the two clash in the RBS Six Nations Championship at the Stade de France this weekend.
The defending champions are eager to bounce back from their 25-17 defeat to England at Twickenham and face a Scotland side hurting after their 36-6 thrashing by Ireland.
Even though the French start as favourites in the Stade de France, Maso has warned his players to remain cautious as they need a win to boost their spirits for the rest of the tournament, as well as for their summer tour and the World Cup this coming autumn.
"We lost to the English after having fought with all our heart, but they were just stronger," he said. "We have four matches left and we can still win the tournament.
"We are preparing ourselves, probably even harder than against England, to beat Scotland and win the remaining three ties. Everything is possible.
"We have to be careful and avoid thinking that we can beat Scotland easily. This tournament remains magic and open." Scotland captain Bryan Redpath, meanwhile, believes his team must take every opportunity that comes their way to put points on the board on Sunday.
The Scots were the only side not to score a try on the first weekend of the championship, passing up a string of gilt-edged chances to put pressure on the Irish.
With the French outscoring England by three tries to one, Redpath knows that Ian McGeechan’s side will need to be more ruthless in the white-hot atmosphere of the Stade de France. He said: "We never took our chances. When we put Ireland under any kind of pressure they withheld the pressure and then got something out of it.
"We didn’t put the opportunities away and at that level, when you aren’t dominating or on a par in the set-piece, you need to take chances.
"We’ve analysed France’s game at the weekend. That match wasn’t as flowing as they would have liked it to have been and there were a lot of mistakes in that game as well.
"But with three tries to one we’re aware that France will score tries so we have to make sure we have the ability to score and take these chances. They are undoubtedly going to score tries because they are a very good side at that.
"We have to understand that they’re going to score but we have to make sure that the opportunities we get, we take - if not it’s very hard to win an international game.
"I don’t think we were conscious of taking anything for granted at all (on Sunday). All credit to Ireland, I think they did their homework."