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Gary Hamilton left reeling after new six-match ban shocker

By Adrian Rutherford

Gary Hamilton last night voiced his frustration after being hit with a six-game ban. The Glenavon player-boss was handed an additional two matches after a failed appeal. The news came through hours before his side lost 1-0 to Mid-Ulster rivals Dungannon at Mourneview Park.

Afterwards Hamilton was reluctant to talk about the news.

Asked if he was disappointed, he responded: "Of course I am... It's not something I'm going to let bother me."

His reluctance to speak was perhaps understandable, given it was comments about a referee which landed him in hot water.

The suspension relates to his sending off against Dungannon when the sides previously met in a heated clash at Stangmore Park on September 17.

Hamilton was shown a red card towards  the end of the 1-1 draw for violent conduct.

He was handed a two-match ban — plus an additional two which were suspended— for remarks to referee Mervyn Smyth.

He appealed the ban, but it was upgraded to a four-match suspension.

Hamilton also unsuccessfully challenged the two-match ban he got for his red card, after the referee claimed he punched Dungannon defender Chris Hegarty.

At the time Hamilton insisted he was blameless.

And Hegarty, the player involved in the incident, confirmed he had not been punched. He described the matter as mere “handbags”.

The six-game ban kicks in on Monday, and includes the League Cup semi-final against Carrick Rangers and the Boxing Day derby against Portadown.

It will be the start of 2017 before Hamilton is available again.

In its published findings, the Appeals Committee said Hamilton had shown “a deplorable lack of respect for the referee” and that such behaviour would not be tolerated.

The Appeal Hearing was told the two assistant referees and fourth official reported that Hamilton had behaved aggressively in the officials’ changing room.

Hamilton did not name himself in the 16-man squad for last night’s Mid-Ulster derby against Dungannon.

Instead he watched from the touchline as Andrew Mitchell’s 89th minute tap-in won it for Dungannon.

On the game, he said: “I thought we deserved a point but you have to give credit to Dungannon. They kept going to the last minute, and got their goal.”

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