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Why does Gordon make it so easy for his enemies (of which he has plenty) > He's made a right arse of this job i'm afraid.

Livingston chairman Gordon McDougall made those comments and he is to demand an independent investigation into Smith’s handling of the attempt to prosecute the Third Division club’s striker, Robbie Winters, for diving.

McDougall believes that Smith has ignored the governing body’s own regulations and procedures in pursuing Winters and he is writing to George Peat, the SFA president, asking him to set up an impartial inquiry into the matter.

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Sport on television The breaches of protocol were so flagrant that the SFA’s own disciplinary committee dismissed the case against Winters without studying footage of the alleged incident and McDougall believes that an examination of the case by neutral adjudicators is essential.

Smith was at Firs Park when the Third Division leaders (who can clinch the championship with a home win over Berwick Rangers on Saturday) beat East Stirling 2-0 on Feb 20.

They were 1-0 ahead when Michael Bolochoweckyj was sent off by referee John Beaton after collecting a second caution for a foul on Winters in the 57th minute. Winters scored the second goal seven minutes later.

McDougall missed that match due to a family holiday and the first he learned of Smith’s intention to pursue Winters was on March 12 when the club received a letter from the SFA stating that Winters had “allegedly” committed an act of simulation which resulted in Bolochoweckyj’s dismissal.

McDougall immediately contacted the SFA for clarification and was informed by the Association’s disciplinary department that their Video Review Panel had already sat that morning and decided that there was a case to answer.

This would appear to be in contravention of SFA regulation 3.2.1, which states that club and player should both be informed of the referral before the review panel reach their judgment.

When McDougall contacted the SFA to ask who had reported Winters (Rule 3 states that an allegation must be made before the matter can be investigated), the written reply from the disciplinary department on March 19 stated: “There is no allegation or complaint made against your player.

“Our chief executive, Gordon Smith, had been in attendance at this match and had witnessed the incident in question.

“During a conversation with a few of the East Stirlingshire officials at the end of the match, Mr Smith indicated that he had witnessed what he believed to be an act of simulation but that no action could be taken as no video evidence was available.

“It was then confirmed to him that the club was recording the match and that if the incident had been captured on film a copy of the footage would be provided to him. This was duly submitted by East Stirlingshire FC.”

McDougall, though, believes that Smith demanded the DVD from East Stirling manager Jim McInally before leaving Firs Park that night.

“I then discussed the matter with Les Thompson, the East Stirling chairman, who told me that he had no knowledge of their DVD being supplied to the SFA and that he had no wish to bring the incident to anyone’s attention,” said McDougall.

“We have our own DVD of the match, which I’ve watched, and the evidence is inconclusive. If I thought Robbie was guilty then I wouldn’t have wasted anyone’s time.

“However, the referee was only 10 yards away and the DVD shows that he had a clear view of the incident.”

In a letter sent by Smith to all member clubs on Nov 3, he underlined the referral process for the Review Panel.

“A crucial element of the consideration of a potential case is that an inquiry is made with the referee to establish whether or not he witnessed the incident,” he wrote. “A case will only proceed if the referee indicates that he did not witness the incident.”

Yet when McDougall asked the SFA whether Mr Beaton had revised his original decision and whether he would attend the disciplinary hearing, the SFA wrote to him on April 8 to say: “The match referee will not be present at the hearing as he has no involvement in this case.”

This, of course, is the complete opposite of the situation which saw referee Dougie McDonald as the sole arbiter when Celtic appealed the red card he issued to Scott Brown in Celtic’s 1-0 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox in February. He upheld his original decision.

Intriguingly, one of the members of the 10-man disciplinary committee was Eric Riley, Celtic’s financial director. His club have been particularly unhappy with Smith over what they regard as “arbitrary” referrals to the Video Review Panel (Scott McDonald, Glenn Loovens and Morten Rasmussen have been taken to task in the last year) and could use McDougall’s complaint as an opportunity to raise further grievances.

The SFA also confirmed to McDougall that this was the first time a Third Division player had ever been charged with improper conduct in such a fashion.

McDougall and Winters travelled to Hampden for the hearing on Monday and, after the chairman made his presentation, the case was thrown out. However, the committee, in what is believed to be an unprecedented move, then asked McDougall if he would provide them with copies of his correspondence, a request he complied with.

There was a further twist on Wednesday when the SFA informed McDougall that a complaint had indeed been made against Winters by East Stirling owner Spencer Fearne on Feb 23.

“I find it quite astonishing that this information was kept from myself, Robbie and the disciplinary committee,” said McDougall.

“This is either gross incompetence or an attempt to mislead people. Either way, I feel that Gordon Smith has overstepped his authority and that is why I’ll be writing to George Peat.

“It’s an embarrassment to Scottish football. What we have seen is rules and protocol being ignored and I believe that an independent hearing into the handling of this affair is a must.”

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