Ex-Celtic player Kris Common is furious with the SFA and claims Nathan Patterson should not have been allowed to play for Rangers on Sunday.
Patterson, 19, has burst onto the scene in recent weeks due to James Tavernier’s injury but his emergence has also been marred by a breach of COVID protocol in February.
The young right-back was handed a six-game ban, two of which were suspended until the end of the season, but that was appealed by Rangers so he could play against Celtic in the Scottish Cup at the weekend.
Patterson impressed in the Old Firm derby as the Light Blues won 2-0 to book their spot in the quarter-finals, where they’ll play St Johnstone.
But the youngster shouldn’t have even played against Celtic, in the eyes of Commons.
While the pundit has no issue with Rangers exploiting the system, he’s hit out at the SFA for how slowly the matter is being dealt with.
“First things first. Nathan Patterson should not have been on the field yesterday. The fact that the appeal of the five Rangers players who reached Covid protocols is not being heard by the SFA until tomorrow is absurd. The incident happened two months ago and is still dragging on,” Commons wrote in the Scottish Daily Mail [April 19, page 7].
“But Rangers are only playing the system because they are able to do so. It’s the SFA dragging their heels that have allowed them this option. Whenever Patterson is free to play again, though, there is no question that he’ll present Steven Gerrard with a huge dilemma.
“On the one hand, James Tavernier is Rangers’ captain. He’s become a much-improved player – one who’s been central to the success of this season. Naturally he’ll be welcomed back into the side.
“If you were picking a side purely based on merit, though, Patterson – if he was available – would surely hold on to his place.”
SFA the issue, not Rangers
Whether Commons thinks Patterson should have started or not, Rangers were well within their rights to protest the bans for the five players who broke COVID rules in February.
When that happened, a lot of supporters were dead against those five players and there were some who suggested they shouldn’t play for the Gers again.
It’s funny how things change.
Patterson’s performances on the pitch have changed opinion on what punishment should be dished out for him and, in turn, that’s applied to the other four rulebreakers.
Patterson and the other four should be punished – we’re not going to deny that.
But the youngster has made amends for his mistake with actions, rather than words. And can we really ask for much more? I don’t think we can.
Patterson is forgiven in our eyes. But the SFA still need to punish him.
We can see why others are annoyed it’s taken so long for a ban to be dealt with but at the end of the day, he’ll probably still get the same punishment.
In other Rangers news, Alan Hutton was stunned one “outrageous” moment in the win versus Celtic.