Hibernian's Garry O'Connor cleared of simulation

Hibernian have won their appeal against a two-match ban handed to striker Garry O'Connor despite assistant manager Billy Brown suggesting he had dived.

The Scottish FA's compliance officer issued Hibs with a complaint and offered a standard suspension after the September match against St Johnstone.

But the Edinburgh club decided to contest the charge of simulation.

And a SFA statement said: "The Fast Track Tribunal determined the player was fouled and no simulation occurred."

St Johnstone manager Derek McInnes had been angered by the award of a penalty after Scotland international O'Connor was challenged by David McCracken in the 28 September game at Easter Road.

O'Connor, who had already scored to put Hibs 2-1 ahead, added his second from the penalty spot before Cillian Sheridan's late consolation for Saints.

Appearing on Sunday's Sportscene programme on BBC Scotland, Hibs assistant Brown had said: "It was a dive and we got a wee break there.

"It proved to be the winning goal and that's what made Derek mad - and I would have been the same."

Immediately after the game, McInnes had criticised the decision by referee Steve Conroy.

"For me, O'Connor has dived and made the referee make a decision and unfortunately the referee has made the wrong decision," said the Saints boss.

"It was clear to me at the time and, having watched it again, it certainly was the wrong decision.

"I told the referee how I felt, but the damage was done.

"The biggest culprit for me is O'Connor because he made the referee make a decision by diving."

O'Connor becomes the second Hibs player to escape punishment this week, after the governing body decided no action should be taken against Graham Stack.

The compliance officer studied footage of an off-the-ball incident involving the goalkeeper and Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty during Hibs' 1-0 defeat at Ibrox on Saturday but did not initiate any fast-track proceedings.

Rangers striker Steven Naismith was the first player to receive retrospective punishment under the new system, accepting a two-match suspension for elbowing Dunfermline Athletic's Austin McCann.

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