Bo’ness United have been eliminated from the Alex Jack Cup after fielding an ineligible player in their semi-final win over Haddington.
Stevie Kerrigan’s side won Saturday’s tie 2-1 with goals from Nicky Prentice and Kieran Sweeney but substitute Craig Comrie’s appearance rendered the result void.
After the late victory, thanks to sub Sweeney’s close-range effort, the BU were due to play Camelon in the final on Sunday, November 25, but the Mariners will now take the title automatically – unless Bo’ness challenge the committee ruling and are successful with their appeal.
While Bo’ness have been kicked out of this season’s competition as punishment, it also transpired their opponents had included two players incorrectly. Having already been eliminated from this term’s competition the East Lothian side have been punished for their mistake by elimination from next season’s competition.
Comrie, signed on at Newtown Park on Saturday morning, but still had an over-hanging suspension from his time with Sauchie Juniors last season. That suspension was transferred over to the East of Scotland set-up in July. Having only been registered a matter of hours he had not sat out any of his two-game ban and so United were punished.
Club chairman Ian Muirhead is now considering his position in light of the administrative error, but called for a re-dress of the East of Scotland communications set-up.
He confirmed in a statement: “Following a meeting of the Office Bearers of the East of Scotland Football Association it has been decided that as the club played a player in the semi final while the player was under suspension Bo’ness United be excluded from the remainder of the competition.
“This suspension was received when the player was still registered with his ex Junior Club in season 2017-2018. The club was unaware he was on any suspension list.”
Muirhead added: “The club is in its first year as a member of the EOS. We accept that the player had a suspension to serve but after being the third club that has moved from the ERSJFA to fall foul of this situation in two calendar months the route of communication and notification must be examined and investigated.
“We also never had the opportunity to state our case in person at the meeting at which this decided. Currently the club is taking professional advice on the matter.
“I will also review my own position as Chairman of the football club over the next few days.”
Bo’ness were not the only ones punished for the administrative mix-up either. Haddington also played TWO ineligible players in the match, having incorrectly sat them out for their game a week earlier against Dalkeith Thistle.
The Hi Hi’s punishment is to be banned from next year’s Alex Jack Cup.
As winners in waiting, Camelon will face either Mid Annandale or Bonnyton Thistle for a place in next season’s senior Scottish Cup.
Bo’ness head to Dundonald Bluebell on Saturday while the Cup winners in waiting Camelon will host Ormiston at Carmuirs Park, kick off 2.30pm.