Revealed: Why Hearts’ Steven Naismith will serve ban but Hibs’ Stevie Mallan won’t

Hibs midfielder Stevie Mallan has escaped a one-match ban despite picking up his sixth booking of the season – thanks to a change in the SFA’s disciplinary rules.

Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 4:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 4:25 pm
Stevie Mallan was yellow-carded against Hearts - his sixth caution of the season

The yellow card shown to Mallan in the Edinburgh derby against Hearts in the final game of 2018 would, in past seasons, have resulted in him missing Wednesday’s Premiership match against Motherwell at Fir Park.

However, the SFA’s rules now state that “a player accumulating six cautions will be automatically suspended for one match if he has accumulated those six cautions in (up to and including) a set number of matches in the relevant league.”

In the case of the Premiership, that figure is set at 19 games whereas Mallan’s sixth booking came in Hibs’ 21st game of the season meaning he escapes punishment.

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Hearts forward Steven Naismith, though, wasn’t so lucky, his sixth booking of the season came against Aberdeen on December 22 – the Tynecastle club’s 19th league game – and, as a consequence, he is suspended for Wednesday’s visit of Dundee.

The new rules also mean, though, that if either player reaches a total of 12 bookings before the end of season, they will receive an automatic two-game ban.