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Lomas left stunned by severity of touchline ban

STEVE LOMAS was last night considering an appeal after being handed an eight-game touchline ban for using foul and abusive language towards a match official.

Steve Lomas: eight-match touchline ban
Steve Lomas: eight-match touchline ban

The St Johnstone manager will not return to the dug-out until the end of January following yesterday's decision by the SFA's disciplinary panel.

The Northern Irishman was sent to the stand during his side's 1-1 draw at Celtic Park earlier this month for arguing with referee Iain Brines over his decision to allow Celtic's Tony Watt to re-enter play in an advantageous position after receiving treatment. Lomas apologised at the time for the language used. "It's a passionate game," he said. "I've apologised, but at the end of the day, that could have cost us dearly."

Speaking last night, Lomas said: "I am shocked by the severity of the ban. I will be speaking to Steven Brown [St Johnstone chairman] to discuss the possibility of mounting an appeal."

Lomas' ban comprises six games for the offence committed at Celtic Park plus a two-game suspended ban relating to an incident in September when he accused Richard Brittain, the Ross County player, of cheating.

With St Johnstone's league match with Celtic on January 26 still to be rescheduled due to the Glasgow club's involvement in the semi-finals of the Scottish Communities League Cup, Lomas may not return to the dug-out until the Clydesdale Bank Premier League game at home to Motherwell on January 30. He will likely also face a further probe after being dismissed in the closing stages of Wednesday's match at home to Hibernian for kicking over a water bottle.

Lomas was not the only one in trouble with the Scottish Football Association yesterday. Paul Hartley, the Alloa Athletic manager, was handed a four-match ban for repeated use of offensive, insulting and abusive language towards the match officials in the recent game against Forfar Athletic, while Darren Randolph was given a two-match ban for violent conduct after Motherwell's challenge of their goalkeeper's suspension was dismissed by the SFA's disciplinary panel.

The Republic of Ireland internationalist was offered the punishment by the SFA for allegedly kicking Hearts forward Callum Paterson during Saturday's match at Fir Park, with Motherwell opting to take it to a fast-track tribunal which took 90 minutes to consider evidence from the player and Gordon Marshall, the club's goalkeeping coach, before making their decision. Randolph will now miss the William Hill Scottish Cup tie against Aberdeen, and the league match against Ross County.

Manuel Pascali will serve a two-game suspension, too, after failing to have his red card from the weekend overturned. The Kilmarnock defender was sent off in the fourth minute of his side's defeat by St Johnstone for a foul on Nigel Hasselbaink. His manager Kenny Shiels was sent to the stand by referee Stevie O'Reilly for arguing the decision that the club decided to appeal.

The tribunal, however, rejected that claim, meaning the Italian will now miss tomorrow's Scottish Cup tie against Queen of the South and the league match against Celtic the following weekend.

Speaking before the verdict was delivered, Shiels insisted the sending off was the wrong decision. "I think harsh is the biggest understatement of the season,"he said.

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