Hearts coach Neilson to challenge SFA charge

Robbie Neilson will attend a hearing at Hampden next month

Robbie Neilson will attend a hearing at Hampden next month

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HEARTS coach Robbie Neilson will appear at a Scottish Football Association hearing next month to challenge a charge of using abusive language.

Neilson is facing a touchline ban at the start of next season but will attend in person at Hampden Park on June 11 to plead not guilty to the SFA’s notice of complaint.

The 34-year-old was sent to the stand by referee Calum Murray during Hearts’ 2-2 draw with Rangers on the final day of the season. He was accused of swearing but maintains his words were aimed at an opposition player and not at officials after a Hearts penalty claim was refused.

The SFA issued him with a notice of complaint stating he breached disciplinary rule 203: Misconduct by using offensive, insulting and abusive language. Neilson has responded and stated he wants to plead his case in front of the SFA judicial panel on Thursday, June 11.

At the time, Neilson stressed he was not complaining about the penalty incident, which involved Hearts striker Osman Sow in a challenge with Rangers goalkeeper Cammy Bell.

“To be honest, I don’t think it was a penalty,” said Neilson. “There were a few other things building up before that that I thought were dubious to say the least. It was the first time I’ve been sent to the stand for shouting at an opposition player.”

Should the judicial panel reject Neilson’s appeal, he can expect to start next season in the stand as Hearts return to the Scottish Premiership. It is likely he would be hit with a two-game touchline ban by the SFA.