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The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

McCulloch loses appeal

Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch will serve a two-match ban with immediate effect after losing his appeal against a red card for violent conduct.

McCulloch was dismissed following an incident with Graham Carey in the 2-1 defeat to St Mirren in the SPL on Christmas Eve.

His claim of wrongful dismissal was thrown out by the Scottish Football Association's fast track tribunal following a hearing on Thursday.

The SFA could have imposed more severe sanctions had they deemed the appeal to be "frivolous'' but the player has escaped a further one-match suspension.

The club's appeal allowed McCulloch to play in the Old Firm derby on December 28, a game which Rangers lost 1-0 to lose their position at the top of the SPL.

McCulloch is now banned for Sunday's Scottish Cup tie against Arbroath and the SPL meeting with St Johnstone the following week.

He was set to miss the weekend trip to Gayfield in any case after a knock sidelined him for Monday's win over Motherwell, before sitting out training with a heavy cold on Wednesday.

Manager Ally McCoist was unhappy with referee Steve McLean's decision to show a straight red card to McCulloch and felt the incident changed the game.

Speaking after the match, the Rangers boss said: "I've seen it once and I would have to say it was extremely harsh.

"I've had a good chat with Lee McCulloch and he assures me there was no malice at all and he was just trying to fend the boy off. The boy actually had an arm around his waist.

"I'm a wee bit disappointed with how the boy went down to be honest with you and no physio came on to my knowledge. It changed the game, there is no doubt about it, and we are disappointed with it.''

Steven Davis and Steven Whittaker, who has a hernia problem, are also suspended for the Scottish champions for this weekend's fourth round tie.

Kyle Lafferty will also miss out with a hamstring injury but Nikica Jelavic is hopeful of overcoming the groin strain that saw him miss the 3-0 victory over Motherwell.


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