Football: Burns sent to stand for a year

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The Independent Online
Tommy Burns, the Celtic manager, has been banned from the touchline for a year by the Scottish Football Association, and has also been hit with a pounds 2,000 fine.

Burns has his case considered in his absence yesterday in Glasgow by a disciplinary committee meeting, which ruled on a touchline temper tantrum during an Old Firm defeat at Celtic Park last November.

Burns had raced along the pitch in pursuit of an assistant referee, Eric Martindale, before being restrained. He was later sent to the stand by the referee, Hugh Dallas. Yesterday the SFA considered the case without making public its decision, but sources confirmed that Burns will now have to sit in the stand for the next 12 months.

Burns was also fined pounds 2,000 to add to a previous fine of pounds 3,000 which was imposed earlier this season, but was cut on appeal to pounds 2,000. The Celtic manager, whose previous record always left him liable to a ban on this occasion, declined to comment on the decision which will leave his assistant, Billy Stark, in control on the touchline.

The Hearts manager, Jim Jefferies, appeared before the committee in person and left with a pounds 500 fine. The same fine was handed out to the Airdrie manager, Alec MacDonald, while the former Scotland and West Ham full-back, Ray Stewart, now the assistant manager of Stirling Albion, has been banned from the touchline until the end of the season.

Jefferies clashed with Dallas and an assistant referee, Alan Freeland, after Hearts lost the Coca-Cola Cup final to Rangers 4-3 at Celtic Park last November. Jefferies claimed Hearts should have been awarded a foul in the lead-up to a Paul Gascoigne goal for Rangers, but neither Freeland nor referee Dallas signalled for the offence.

"We were pretty hyped up that day about a particular decision and we let our feelings be known, perhaps over-zealously," Jefferies said. He accepted his fine but was in agreement that a change is possibly required to prevent a repeat of the scenes in the immediate aftermath of the final. Hearts and their management were kept waiting on the pitch until a rostrum was assembled at Celtic Park for the trophy presentation to Rangers. It was during this break that Jefferies had to be restrained by colleagues from taking his grievances with the officials further.

"I think there might be lessons to be learned," Jefferies said. "It might be wiser to take players inside to the dressing-rooms first and then have the presentation thereafter."

Stewart has been banned from the dug-out until next season after a row with officials during Stirling's 5-2 defeat at Falkirk. MacDonald was fined pounds 500 for "using foul language" to an assistant referee after Airdrie's match at St Mirren.