Caley Thistle defender Brad McKay says the fact that he must watch next month’s IRN-BRU Cup final from the stand is already hard to take.
McKay was sent off by Welsh referee Bryn Markham-Jones in the semi-final victory over Crusaders and is suspended for the final against Dumbarton at Perth’s McDiarmid Park on March 24.
The former Hearts defender was shown two yellow cards meaning he is unable to appeal the verdict, which is the cause of much frustration.
The 24-year-old will play against Dumbarton in tonight’s Championship fixture at The Rock but he says his absence from the cup final will be painful.
He said: “I thought the first one was so soft. For the second one, I didn’t think he was even going to book me. He seemed to take so long to do it and I asked him why. I think their players got in his ear a little bit and he’s either changed his mind or heard something from the fourth official.
“It’s disappointing – I could have butted someone or lashed out and got a straight red and missed the next league game but played the cup final. But it’s two yellow cards which I’m unable to appeal, which is even more frustrating.
“When I was at Hearts we played Inverness in the League Cup semi-final and they went down to nine men. Josh Meekings and Gary Warren both got sent off but Meekings’ one was a straight red which he appealed and got to play in the final. It’s not my place to say but I think there should be some sort of adjustment, if the referee has made an error.
“I believe he has and I’m not having a go – people believe what they believe and I think the first one was soft and the second one is probably a foul. But I don’t think he was going to give me a second yellow card.”
With Inverness’ hopes of making the promotion play-offs slim following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat by Morton, McKay is excited by the prospect of landing silverware.
He added: “It doesn’t matter what cup it is – some people go their whole careers and never get to a semi-final never mind a final.
“Obviously, you’ve not got the big teams in this competition but it was like a European tie playing against Crusaders. It was quite enjoyable actually, playing against a team we’ve not faced before.
“I hope the boys go on and win it but it will be pretty hard having to sit and watch. Caley Thistle have not been to many finals, so I’m sure we will take a lot of fans.”