James Keatings: Inverness CT striker's ban revoked by Scottish FA tribunal

By Amy MacBeathBBC Sport Scotland
Watch: How did Keatings' appeal against this booking for diving fail?

James Keatings says it "means everything" to be free of suspension for the Challenge Cup final after a Scottish FA tribunal reversed an earlier appeal against his red card.

The Inverness Caledonian Thistle striker was shown a second yellow card for diving in the semi-final.

A second tribunal has now ruled it a "wrongful caution".

"I know what it's like to play in cup finals and it's one I didn't want to miss," said Keatings.

"It means everything. Cup finals don't come around every year and players can go a whole career without getting to one. For me, with the injuries I've had in the past, I've been lucky enough to have had the chance.

"It was a hard one to take to start with. When it happened on the pitch I'd say I handled it professionally, I didn't confront the referee. I know it's a hard decision from where he's standing.

"I walked off, took it as it was, but it was the first red card of my career."

The initial tribunal's decision to reject an appeal against the second booking provoked a public outcry and a furious statement from Caley Thistle.

"If the individuals involved can watch the footage and call this simulation, there can be no other conclusion other than they do not understand football," said the Highland club.

The Scottish FA then "rendered invalid" the decision, saying the outcome was not "competent".

A fresh tribunal was convened on the grounds that a member of the initial three-man panel did not consider all the available evidence and announced that the unnamed panel member would be withdrawn from the pool for future tribunals.

'It means everything' - Keatings on red card reversal

'The power of the football family'

BBC presenter and former England striker Gary Lineker was among those to denounce the original decision, while an online petition was set up in support of Keatings.

Caley Thistle manager John Robertson said: "It just shows you the power of football and the football family, not just in Scotland but all over the UK, they rallied behind James.

"The sensible and right outcome has finally been arrived at.

"It's a big thing for James as he's had his dark times and you wonder if something like that could set him off but he's been really positive throughout it all."

Inveness CT, second in the Championship, will face League One leaders Raith Rovers in the Challenge Cup final on 28 March.

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