Josh Meekings: Vincent Lunny shocked by panel decision

The Scottish FA's former compliance officer admits that he is "quite shocked" that Josh Meekings is free to play in the Scottish Cup final.

A judicial panel dismissed the defender's retrospective one-game suspension for a semi-final hand ball missed by the match officials.

"For me, it was a stone-waller," Vincent Lunny told BBC Scotland.

"Possibly just sympathy from the panel. At the end of the day, it's a jury and anything can happen with a jury."

Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce and former Celtic manager Neil Lennon had both suggested that taking retrospective action over a hand ball for the first time would set a dangerous precedent.

But Lunny believes his successor, Tony McGlennan, was right to bring the case against Meekings for handling a goalbound Leigh Griffiths header in the 3-2 win over Celtic.

"I don't think it is a dangerous precedent because the rule itself is quite clear - it's any sending off offence missed by match officials," he said.

"If you pick and choose which offences you're going to raise and which you're not arbitrarily, that would be a dangerous precedent.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle defender Josh Meekings
Josh Meekings will be able to play in the Scottish Cup final against Falkirk on 30 May

"If the clubs or individuals feel that the rule has to be narrowed down to violent conduct or serious foul play, for example, that would require a rule change.

"As it stands just now, the rule covers this scenario, so I think Tony McGlennan had nowhere to go and had to take the case to the panel."

Lunny explained that, following discussions with the refereeing department, the compliance officer would have contacted the six match officials individually and asked them to confirm, usually by email, that they missed the incident before issuing his offer of a one-game suspension.

The former compliance officer thought there were two possible explanations for the panel's subsequent decision - sympathy or confusion over the offence.

"The three people deciding it will be football people and it may have been with a good plea put up by Josh Meekings' legal team, that there's been a degree of sympathy for the player," he said.

"There might have been some argument over whether this was an offence missed by match officials or not.

"But the key word is 'offence' not 'incident'. We had Ryan Stevenson dealt with a couple of years ago for serious foul play where the referee and assistant had seen the tackle.

"They had seen the incident but missed the fact it was serious foul play. And it is really the offence that's important, not the incident."

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