CHRIS Sutton last night asked why Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke has been charged by the SFA when his Rangers counterpart Steven Gerrard escaped punishment for similar comments.

Clarke has been accused of implying bias or incompetence by a match official and of bringing the game into disrepute by the governing body.

He claimed the appeal against the red card that Rugby Park midfielder Gary Dicker picked up against Hearts last month had been “pre-judged” - because referee Willie Collum was taking charge of the Old Firm game a few days later.

But BT Sport pundit and former Celtic striker Sutton admitted he was mystified why Gerrard – who claimed that refereeing decisions had been going against Rangers “for years” following the Ladbrokes Premiership game against Aberdeen at Pittodrie last month – had not been censured.

“That’s inconsistency,” he said. “Steven Gerrard’s conspiracy stuff is as bad as anything - he’s implying that there’s collaboration between referees which has worked against his club. Steve Clarke must be sitting thinking: ‘If I’ve been charged, why hasn’t Steven Gerrard been charged?’

“I was done for saying something similar [about Dunfermline lying down to Rangers in 2003] and rightly so. You just want to see common sense and consistency and there’s been anything but that from the SFA.

“Why didn’t the SFA react to Gerrard’s comments? That’s a really good question, but you’d need to ask them that. However, since they’re now acting over Clarke’s remarks then it’s a fair question to ask them why they’re not taking the Rangers manager to task for, arguably, the worst offence of them all.

“The quotes from Motherwell’s Peter Hartley – about how he enjoyed watching Fabio Cardoso cry when Ryan Bowman broke his nose – were also disgraceful, but he wasn’t done either. It’s a sad situation, really, and a poor reflection on the SFA that it’s come to this.”

Sutton, speaking ahead of the live BT Sport game between St Mirren and Celtic at the Simple Digital Arena this evening, believes the disciplinary process must be reviewed following a string of high-profile controversies this season.

“Clearly the panel needs sorting out in some way, shape or form because there have been some very strange decisions,” he said.

“Steve Clarke coming out and saying what he did was out of frustration. He has overstepped the mark in some respects and he will know that. But he makes some valid points. It all comes down to the incidents we have seen and the Dicker one and his frustration over that. I can understand that.

“It is a strange old start to the season for the panel. McGregor was probably the oddest decision of them all. McGregor was first and Dicker later on in the week. You would have thought the three man panel, the three stooges or whatever you want to call them, would have thought logically about things and they have let McGregor off with that.

“In some ways I have sympathy for the referees. It may not always seem that way, but this is the panel. They are supposed to be the safety net. So, when referees get decisions wrong it’s not easy. The Dicker one wasn’t straightforward because he does lunge. In that split second Willie Collum had to make a decision. It could have gone either way for me.

“It is the fact they (the panel) have made some really poor decisions with McGregor, Naismith, Morelos. We can see where the frustration comes from with managers.

“The McGregor one is baffling. In terms of them talking about the wording of the law, if that isn’t brutality what is. It is kicking out. It is going to take someone getting a broken leg.

“What sort of message does it send to young players across the country? It is scandalous how they don’t see that and get that right. It is not even a grey area. Derek McInnes has come out and said they are incompetent. Well, it’s hard to argue with him really.

“This panel, we’ve seen all their decisions - the Alfredo Morelos one, the Steven Naismith one, the Allan McGregor one. It’s hard to go round the country and find anyone else who doesn’t think they should have been punished.”

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