Steven MacLean: Hearts player accepts violent conduct ban for Eboue Kouassi grab

Hearts striker Steven MacLean and Celtic's Eboue Kouassi
Steven MacLean stands over Eboue Kouassi as the Celtic midfielder writhes on the ground

Hearts' Steven MacLean has been given a two-match ban for grabbing Eboue Kouassi between the legs in the League Cup semi-final loss to Celtic.

The Scottish FA compliance officer reviewed footage of the incident from Sunday's match at Murrayfield.

Manager Craig Levein had earlier revealed MacLean had "been doing it for years - I had to chuckle at that".

MacLean missed Wednesday's Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle and will miss Hearts' first League Cup tie next term.

Kouassi, 20, fell to the turf after the 24th-minute incident in Edinburgh and angrily accused MacLean, 36, of grabbing him, but the incident was not spotted by referee Willie Collum.

The Ivorian, who had been limping before the clash inside the Celtic penalty area, was replaced with Scott Sinclair soon after.

An act directed towards the private parts of a player on the field is now considered an act of "brutality" and deemed violent conduct.

MacLean, who had assumed Hearts' captaincy after Steven Naismith was substituted for an early injury, had brushed off the incident, describing it as "just a laugh" and "just handbags".

But Levein said: "I'm ruing the fact that they changed the rules this summer and then it becomes a different offence."

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