FORMER English top-flight referee Mark Halsey insists Steven Naismith should have been red-carded for a deliberate stamp on Scott Brown.
The Hearts captain was caught on film standing on his Celtic counterpart in another flashpoint incident in the Hoops’ Scottish Cup Final penalty-kick shoot-out triumph at Hampden on Sunday.
Remarkably, referee John Beaton, who had a good view of the moment of impact as Naismith brought down his foot on Brown’s leg, took no action. Former Parkhead midfielder Kris Commons expressed his surprise at the lack of action from the match official, as CQN reported yesterday.
Halsey, who officiated in the Premier League for 14 years, reviewed the occurrence between the two long-term rivals and, speaking to This Is Futbol, said: “It’ll be interesting to see if the Scottish FA take retrospective action because when you look at that – I’ve refereed Steven Naismith – you look at that and think: ‘Could the player have planted his foot somewhere?’ And you have to say yes – he could have planted his foot somewhere else.
“So, there’s an argument to say that he should’ve been sent off for violent conduct stamping on an opponent, so I think he’s got away with one there.
“The referee’s not seen that, so the Scottish FA can take retrospective action on that incident so it would be interesting to see if they do.
“I’d be very surprised if they don’t from what action they’ve taken on different players already this season. I’d be amazed if they don’t take retrospective action on that incident because, as I said, does he have to put his foot down on his leg?
“No, he doesn’t because there’s plenty of other places where he could’ve put it because he’s looking – he knows what he’s doing.”
Former Kilmarnock, Rangers, Everton and Norwich City forward Naismith could now face a ban.
The SFA fast-track procedure gives compliance officer Clare Whyte until 3pm today to make a call.