Steven Naismith handed two-match ban

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The Independent Online

Steven Naismith will serve an immediate two-match ban after Rangers accepted a fixed suspension from the Scottish Football Association.

The Ibrox midfielder was retrospectively punished after television footage appeared to show him catching Austin McCann on the face with an elbow during Saturday's 4-0 win over Dunfermline.

Naismith - who went on to score two goals in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League victory at East End Park - will miss tomorrow's game against Kilmarnock and the visit of Hibernian at the weekend.

The incident was missed by referee Iain Brines and played down by McCann afterwards, who said he believed the flashpoint was accidental and revealed Naismith immediately offered an apology.

However, the Scottish champions today received a Notice of Complaint from the SFA in connection with the incident and, according to a statement on the club's official website, decided to accept the two-match ban for violent conduct after reviewing video footage.

The statement read: "Rangers Football Club today received a Notification of Complaint from the SFA in connection with an incident involving Steven Naismith and Austin McCann at Saturday's SPL match against Dunfermline.

"After reviewing video footage, the club has decided to accept the Fixed Suspension and as such the player will miss the next two SPL matches - against Kilmarnock tomorrow evening and Hibernian at the weekend.

"Steven has already had an apology accepted by Austin McCann and admits there was no deliberate intent to make contact with the player at East End Park.

"As manager Ally McCoist stated at today's pre-Kilmarnock press conference, Rangers supports the new SFA fast-track process for dealing with disciplinary matters and trusts it will be applied fairly across all clubs."

A statement from the SFA read: "The player was offered a two-match suspension, which is equivalent to the automatic suspension that would have applied had the referee reported this offence.

"The player has accepted the suspension offered. Accordingly, the case will not require to be determined by a Fast Track Tribunal.

"The suspension applies immediately to the club's next two first team matches, irrespective of competition."

Naismith becomes the first player to be tried under the SFA's new Fast Track Proceedings.

Speaking earlier today, McCoist was asked about the importance of all clubs being treated equally when cases are being looked at.

He said: "We are talking about fairness here, that's all everybody is asking for. Every club in the country would be asking for fairness and that we are all treated the exact same."

The Rangers boss backed the changes in the football governing body's disciplinary procedures, adding: "It's a great idea, it helps everybody and gives everybody a clearer insight into the way ahead.

"I'm all for that, a bit of clarity."

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