Rangers announced yesterday that they would appeal the decision to order McCulloch off after he elbowed St Mirren’s Graham Carey in front of referee Steven McLean.
This season the SFA brought in a Fast Track appeal system to hear appeals and administer justice but the extended Christmas holiday enjoyed by the SFA has shown the system up as anything but ‘fast-track’
“Have no doubts this is a cynical and disappointing exploitation of a festive loophole to make sure McCulloch can face Celtic tomorrow night,” Clark said in his column in The Sun.
“Rangers would not be appealing Lee McCulloch’s red card if they still had a 12-point lead over Celtic- let’s just make that clear right away.
“Personally, I don’t think they’ll care if they eventually have it rejected- as it should be- by the SFA next week. The bottom line is McCulloch is now free to play at Parkhead and against Motherwell on Monday. That’s all that really matters to them, in my mind.
“We’re talking about Rangers’ actions but only a fool would believe no other club would do the same if they were in a similar situation.
“Rangers have sussed out the possibility and gone for it so it’s mission accomplished. They can’t appeal Goian’s dismissal as it was two yellows. The need for McCulloch to be involved for the Celtic showdown was even greater.”
Clark added: “Steven McLean appeared perfectly placed to judge Saturday’s flashpoint with Graham Carey and he acted with conviction. Having seen McCulloch’s swinging arm I can only back the decision.
“There’s a train of thought that because contact was not that severe it shouldn’t have been a red card but the impact factor is irrelevant.
“It’s the intent that counts and there’s no doubt in my mind that McCulloch was looking to connect.
“The ref will be consulted during the appeal process and asked if he now has a different view but I would be shocked if he changed his mind.”