Isma set for ban
By Stuart Gillespie
Updated Tuesday, 2nd April 2013
Esmael Goncalves looks set to miss two of Saints' upcoming bans after the SFA hit him with a retrospective ban for the way he won a penalty against Celtic on Sunday.
The Portuguese striker, who is on loan from Rio Ave, went down under Emilio Izaguirre's challenge 10 minutes from time. Referee Bobby Madden pointed to the spot, Paul McGowan scored and we got a draw. No Buddie cared if it was the right decision after some shocking calls went against us in the first half - and when we've faced Celtic in the past.
The SFA have now issued Isma with a "notice of complaint" because they reckoned he dived and this caused the referee to make an incorrect decision. This is unintentionally amusing as Mr Madden was more than capable of making wrong decisions by himself!
As a result, Isma is facing a two game ban. The club and the player have until Thursday to respond so he should be available for tomorrow night's game against Kilmarnock. There's been no indication yet of whether the decision will be contested - or if the punishment is increased if an appeal is unsuccessful.
At the time I reckoned it was a foul but outside the box, however after seeing TV replays I felt we may well be getting a letter from compliance officer Vincent Lunny. Goncalves was quoted in one of today's papers saying he didn't dive, but if Celtic had won a penalty for a similar challenge I'd have been raging.
Many people are angry that Isma is facing a two game ban when he'd only have been booked if his "dive" had been spotted on Sunday. The difference is we got a penalty as a result of Mr Madden's incompetence, whereas we wouldn't have if he'd done his job properly. The punishment also needs to act as a deterrent - players will take the risk to win their side a penalty if they're only going to get booked later, but they might think again if they know they'll get banned.
The frustrating thing is this, combined with Celtic appealing Victor Wanyama's red card (which I felt was the correct decision) will lead people to think Neil Lennon's side were hard done by. This is clearly not the case, but don't expect any action over Georgios Samaras' handball, Izaguirre shoving Dummett to get a goal ruled out and Mr Madden's awful display.
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