Queen’s Park have been kicked out of the Scottish Cup after fielding an ineligible player in their fourth round win.
The Spiders were 2-0 winners in their re-arranged match at Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Tuesday night, with goals from Dom Thomas and Scott Williamson appearing to have secured a place in the fifth round and a match away to Livingston.
However, 22-year-old Hearts loanee Euan Henderson started for Queen’s Park in the game and put the club in breach of the competition rules.
Henderson signed for Queen’s Park five days ago and made his debut against Dundee in the Championship at the weekend.
After the news was confirmed Queen’s Park Football Club President David Hunter said: “We have been advised by the Scottish Football Association that our participation in this season’s Scottish Cup is at an end.
“An error was made regarding the eligibility of a player who featured in Tuesday night’s game with Inverness Caledonian Thistle and we have accepted the SFA’s decision.”
“It is a regrettable mistake. One we will learn from.” “Our team put on a tremendous display on Tuesday to win the tie and obviously today’s result is a hugely disappointing outcome. As upsetting as this matter is, it’s vital that we put this behind us quickly, move on and focus on our league campaign.”
Scottish Cup rules say that players are only eligible to be played if they are registered before the original date of the game, and the tie against Inverness was originally scheduled for January 21.
The Scottish FA issued the club with a Notice of Complaint and an independent panel made the decision to expel them from this year’s competition on Friday.
On Friday, the SFA said: “Following a disciplinary tribunal, Queen’s Park have been ejected from the Men’s Scottish Cup for a breach of Competition Rule 12.5, relating to player eligibility.”
Scottish Cup rule 12.5 reads: “When a match which is postponed, drawn, or abandoned is played or replayed, only those players who were eligible, by means of their registration, to be listed on the official team line for a club at the date fixed for originally playing the match, are eligible to be listed on the official team line for that club for the rescheduled match, together with any recognised goalkeeper who is registered with such club at the date of the rescheduled match pursuant to an emergency temporary transfer which has been approved by the board under competition Rule 12.7 or otherwise approved by the relevant regulatory body, notwithstanding that such recognised goalkeeper was not eligible, by means of his registration, to be listed on the official team line for the relevant club at the date fixed for originally playing the match.”
The Scottish FA’s Judicial Panel Protocol lays out the sanctions available and Rule 303 deals with “Eligibility – clubs shall observe the terms of Competition Rule 12”. The punishment at the low end of the guidelines reads: “Mandatory ejection from the Scottish Cup/Women’s Scottish Cup and/or loss of payment for the round and/or exclusion from the Scottish Cup/Women’s Scottish Cup”.
Livingston will now face Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Fifth Round.