Hibs handed 3-0 defeat by SPFL for fielding suspended player in Premier Sports Cup
The club have also been hit with a fine of £5,000, of which £4,000 is suspended until June 30, 2023, pending any further breaches of SPFL player regulations.
Rocky Bushiri has been confirmed as the unfortunate player in question after he picked up yellow cards in the games against Falkirk and Bonnyrigg Rose. Two yellow cards are enough to trigger an automatic one-game suspension in the group stages before totals are wiped prior to Round 2.
The club said in a brief statement: “The administrative error has been investigated internally, and whilst processes are already in place to prevent issues of this nature from occurring, additional steps have been added to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
It means Lee Johnson’s men have now been eliminated from this season’s competition ahead of the final round of fixtures in the groups, which take place this weekend.
Hibs’ chances of progressing were already hanging by a threat following the 1-1 draw with Dougie Imrie’s Championship visitors, who secured the bonus point with a win on penalties as Ewan Henderson (who scored in the 90 minutes), Aiden McGeady and Ryan Porteous all failed to find the target.
Now on six points in Group D, the Leith club are unable to catch Falkirk at the top of the table. And while there is currently only two other teams with higher points totals at the moment, they cannot finish as one of the best three runners-up due to Queen’s Park and Hamilton Accies playing each other in Group H as both are currently on six points.
Coincidentally, on the same day Stranraer were also cited for fielding an illegible player in Paul Woods during their Premier Sports Cup match with Forfar Athletic. The League Two side also received a 3-0 defeat and a £1,000 fine with £500 of it suspended.
It now means three clubs have suffered punishments for similar offences in this season’s tournament after Elgin City were charged for playing defender Daryl McHardy in their match with Ayr United.