Hearts captain has melee punishment reduced

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The Independent Football

Hearts captain Michael Stewart today succeeded in his appeal against his red card at Hamilton after it was reduced to a caution by the Scottish Football Association.

An SFA review panel examined footage of the midfielder's sending-off for violent conduct in Sunday's 2-1 Clydesdale Bank Premier League defeat at New Douglas Park and determined it warranted only a yellow card for "adopting a threatening and/or aggressive attitude".

Stewart was dismissed in the 48th minute for tangling with Accies skipper Alex Neil, the first of six red cards shown during and after what was a chaotic game.

The Jambos skipper appealed the verdict and referee David Somers admitted he had been unhappy with his original decision, referring the matter to the review panel.

Stewart therefore escapes a three-match ban and is available to play in tomorrow's game with Dundee United.

The appeal verdict came 24 hours after Hearts boss Csaba Laszlo called for referees to be held accountable for their mistakes after revealing he had written to the SFA asking for a "formal explanation" for the performance of the officials at New Douglas Park.

Laszlo expressed his "serious concern" about the displays of Somers and his assistants, particularly regarding the sendings off of Stewart and defender Ismael Bouzid, as well as the decision not to award the visitors an injury-time penalty.

Those incidents were overshadowed by the post-match mayhem which saw Somers issue a further four red cards following a mass brawl in the tunnel, something Laszlo claims could have been avoided if the referee had made the correct calls during the 90 minutes.