By Noel Whelan

20th Nov, 2020 | 6:00pm

Exclusive: Pundit suggests SFA conspiracy over Rangers issue

The Scottish Football Association have come down “very harsh” on Rangers duo Jordan Jones and George Edmundson.

That is the view of former Leeds and Aberdeen striker Noel Whelan who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has questioned whether officials were making an example of the Ibrox pair in a thinly-veiled SFA conspiracy.

As relayed in an official statement from Rangers, the SFA have handed both Jones and Edmundson a seven-game ban after they breached Covid-19 rules by attending a party despite the two-household ruling in Scotland.

The duo are the latest in a line of players in Scotland to be hit with charges after breaking rules regarding social distancing and self-isolating, although the punishments have varied from case to case.

Celtic’s Boli Bolingoli was handed a five-game ban – two of which were suspended – for travelling to and from Spain and returning to training without isolating, eight Aberdeen players received a three-match suspended ban for failing to socially distance, while Dundee United’s Mark Connolly was given a two-game suspended ban for another incident.

Whelan has admitted the punishment handed to the Rangers pair does not match previous cases but suggested the SFA felt they had to make an example after a number of offences from top-flight players.

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Whelan told Football Insider: “I think you’ve got to be – if they’re very like for like offences – then it’s got to be like for like punishment. It does seem very harsh on those two players.

“I’m sure they’ve been punished by the club internally as well, there’s no doubt about that and they’ve got a lot of making up to do if that is the case. It’s a long time for a footballer to be out – you talk about two weeks, you’re talking about maybe what two months there with that amount of games.

“That’s a real strong punishment but I guess when it’s happened one time, but then it happens again, they’re certainly not listening, they’re not taking it on board so then you’ve got to make the next punishment even harsher. 

“It’s until people learn the severity of what’s being asked from them and if you do break protocol, there is gonna be a stronger punishment on the next one as well, I guarantee you that. This is prevention more than anything else and unfortunately, those two players have been used for that.”

In other Rangers news, an English club want to re-sign Ibrox star as six-figure deal plotted.