Peterhead FC: ‘Unique’ McInally ban halved on appeal

McInally reacted badly when he discovered referee John McKendrick went to the player's lounge against his express wishes.
McInally reacted badly when he discovered referee John McKendrick went to the player's lounge against his express wishes.

Blue Toon boss Jim McInally has had his four-match touchline ban for rowing with a referee about a post-match meal reduced to two games following an appeal, writes Joshua King.

The 49-year-old’s case was brought before the SFA disciplinary panel in December following the incident with official John McKendrick after the 1-1 draw with East Stirlingshire.

However an appellate tribunal at Hampden on Tuesday saw the incident in a different light and ‘the appeal was upheld in part.’

McInally today told The Buchanie: “I’m angry I got anything but I feel as though I did get a fair crack at the whip at the appeal.

“The damage had been done first time round.

“The panel didn’t need to hear the full story because the club’s appeal was against the sentence but they wanted to hear it because it was such a unique case.

“I think they probably did as much as they could - you can tell because they cut the ban in half that they felt there was an unfairness attached to it all.”

McInally will now miss this weekend’s tie at East Stirling and the game against Montrose on January 18.

The Buchanie revealed in December that the Balmoor boss had reacted badly when he discovered McKendrick and his assistants eating in the players lounge, against his express wishes.

There were concerns that, following a controversial conclussion to the game, the presence of the officials in the dining area could lead to an argument with the Blue Toon players.

The subsequent SFA ruling was handed down the day after the Scottish Senior Football Referees Association slammed the governing body for giving Dundee United’s Nadir Çiftçi a soft punishment.

The forward was only issued with one game ban with an additional one game suspended ban despite grabbing an official by the throat during a mass brawl between United and Inverness.

At the time some in the Peterhead hierachy felt McInally, who has a history of disagreements with officials, had been made a scapegoat for the SFA.

McInally added that he has learnt lessons from the affair: “We’ve learnt a lot as a club.

“It’s probably a great lesson for any manager - quite a few managers like me phone (SFA Head of Referee Operations) John Fleming on a Monday morning if we have complaints about refs but (SFA Compliance Officer) Vincent Lunney told me at the appeal I should go directly to him.”

Peterhead, who lodged the appeal only hours after receiving the SFA ruling last year, have had their appeal fee returned.