Hibernian are out of the Premier Sports Cup after being forced to forfeit a match after fielding an ineligible player.
The SPFL started disciplinary proceedings against the club after they admitted playing Rocky Bushiri against Morton in Wednesday’s group stage match, when the player should have been serving a one-match suspension after being booked against Bonnyrigg Rose and Falkirk.
Hibs drew 1-1 with the Morton after 90 minutes but the Championship side won the bonus point after a penalty shoot-out.
A hearing was convened for Thursday afternoon to consider the rule breach and Hibs were fined, with the match being awarded to Morton by a 3-0 scoreline.
The Easter Road side has also been slapped with a £5,000 penalty – £4,000 of which is suspended pending any further breaches of the regulations.
That leaves Hibs eliminated from the cup at the first stage. Lee Johnson’s side drop to second in the table but have played all their games, while Morton still have a home match against Bonnyrigg Rose and would leapfrog the top flight side with a point or better.
However, points tallies elsewhere mean Hibs will be overhauled by at least one side from another group and will not make it into one of the best runner-up spots.
Stranraer were also subjected to a fine and a forfeit for breaking the same rule by using a suspended player against Forfar Athletic.
Hibs have since apologised to fans over the error.
A club statement read: “Hibernian FC would like to apologise to its supporters, to Greenock Morton, and to the SPFL for the rule breach.
“The administrative error has been investigated internally, and whilst processes are already in place to prevent issues of this nature from occurring, additional steps have been added to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
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