The Incident

Rangers winger Ryan Kent was shown two yellow cards at Pittodrie in his side's 1-1 draw with Aberdeen, with both arriving in quick succession in the second half.

The first came when Kent bundled over Jonny Hayes from behind on 76 minutes, with the 25-year-old then shoving the Irish full-back in the aftermath.

The second arrived less than 10 minutes later. After miscontrolling the ball and gifting possession to Scott Brown, Kent went haring after it. Brown moved the ball on before Kent could get there, the winger went in anyway and was deemed to have nicked Brown's foot. Referee Kevin Clancy flashed a second yellow and Kent marched off the pitch.

What Was Said

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst was typically philosophical when discussing the incident after the match.

"It’s a physical game with a lot of tackles and duels, you know there is going to be yellows on both sides," he said. "It’s a decision by the ref.

"Every chance you make a foul the fans are going to scream – it’s normal in a place like this. With 10 men I think we did well and worked hard to get the point."

BBC pundits Richard Foster and James McFadden were both left surprised by Clancy's decision to send off Kent.

"It's so soft," said Foster. "Kevin Clancy has already got the card out before Kent even touches Hayes so I'm not sure who was originally getting booked.

"But just have a word with the two players. It's a heated environment with a lot of emotion - just calm the situation down.

"The second one - yes it is still a foul - but to give a second yellow for that is a ridiculous decision and red card."

McFadden concurred with the Partick Thistle defender's assessment that the sending off was harsh but the pair disagreed over the initial booking.

"The first one is [a yellow card] because of the reaction," he conceded. "The challenge on Jonny Hayes was debatable whether it was even a foul.

"And when you see it from [this angle] here you feel like he's caught Scott Brown and he has a second yellow and he's off.

"But when you see it again, there's not a lot of contact - if any."

The Rule

According to IFAB's Laws of the Game, the rules the SPFL follow, a yellow card can be shown to a player for:

- Delaying the restart of play
- Dissent by word or action
- Entering, re-entering or deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission
- Failing to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a dropped ball, corner kick, free kick or throw-in
- Persistent offences (no specific number or pattern of offences constitutes 'persistent')
- Unsporting behaviour
- Entering the referee review area (RRA)
- Excessively using the ‘review’ (TV screen) signal

The Verdict

Foster makes a good point. In the footage below, Clancy can be seen approaching Kent and the official is already reaching for a yellow card before he pushes the Dons defender. The altercation between the Rangers player and Hayes was a clear example of unsporting behaviour and Clancy was right to caution both players on those grounds.

We can infer from the video, though, that Clancy was showing the yellow card for a previous infringement. This means Kent was going to be shown a yellow card for another charge of unsporting behaviour - this time for tackling in a reckless manner - which seems a bit of a stretch.

Ultimately, though, Kent's reaction to Hayes was worth a booking, and therefore Clancy got the first call right.

The second is another borderline case. If there was definitive contact from Kent on Brown, then Kent could have been perceived to be guilty of reckless play by Clancy and deserved to be dismissed. If there wasn't, then the winger shouldn't have received a second yellow and instead Brown should have been booked for simulation.

Television replays are inconclusive but the fact that no clear contact can be shown would suggest that if there was any contact, it was minimal and therefore not the result of reckless play.

The second yellow should not have been applied to Kent - and the winger can consider himself hard done by to have been sent off at Pittodrie.