Lee Johnson criticises SFA after club sanctioned for fielding suspended player

Hibs included Rocky Bushiri in their starting line-up against Morton despite him being banned.

By Press Association Published: 24 July 2022 - 7.02pm

Hibernian manager Lee Johnson has hit out at the Scottish Football Association after his club fielded a suspended player during their draw against Morton.

Hibs were penalised by the Scottish Professional Football League with a 3-0 defeat after including Rocky Bushiri in their starting line-up despite the Belgian defender being the subject of an automatic one-match ban after picking up bookings in each of their previous two games.

The punishment proved academic as Hibs would have gone out of the competition anyway but the situation was an embarrassment to the club on the back of a disappointing start to Johnson’s reign on the park.

The SFA sends a list of suspensions to clubs each week but Johnson claimed there should have been extra warning after Bushiri picked up an immediate suspension on the Sunday ahead of the midweek game.

Bushiri and Hibs now face an SFA disciplinary hearing on August 11 after breaching the suspension.

After a 1-0 friendly win over Norwich, Johnson said: “To be fair, I think the Scottish FA have got to have to look at themselves, to be honest with you.

“Obviously I have come up from England and I am looking at no fourth officials in games. The extranet system should have a flagging system. It wasn’t just us that got done by that, it was three or four clubs.

“In England there’s an extranet system that, if there is a suspension pending, there’s a flag that comes up and everybody gets notified in the football club. It’s not difficult to do that, it’s just admin.”

The former Barnsley, Bristol City and Sunderland manager added: “At the same time we’ve got to take responsibility, first on a football level, and then on an administration level.

“But there’s things up here that I’m seeing that I am thinking: ‘Come one, we can sharpen up’.

“This is the top league in a top country, full of passion, full of great footballers, full of history, and we need to sharpen up.”

A first-half strike from Elias Melkersen handed Hibs victory against the Canaries with Johnson fielding a largely youthful side in the second period.

Goalkeeper David Marshall missed the game with a sickness bug while Chris Cadden sat out with a thigh injury which will be scanned. Aiden McGeady went off early on with a minor knee injury.

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