05-11-2016, 05:34 AM
An SPFL disciplinary panel will discuss the rule breach today after midfielder Ali Coote came on for the last 13 minutes at Caledonian Stadium last Friday. Another United teenager, Jamie Robson, was an unused substitute, also contrary to regulations.
SPFL rules forbid players from returning from lower-league loans after March 31 and then playing for their Premiership parent club.
The United duo were still out on loan in April, with Coote at East Fife and Robson at Brechin City.
They were only re-registered with the SFA as United players on May 5 – the day before the Caley Thistle clash – and were ineligible for the first-team squad.
It is likely the result will be wiped out and Inverness awarded the three points instead as there is no time to replay the fixture.
Although the Tangerines were already doomed to relegation prior to the win, the SPFL do not treat such breaches lightly.
With the Premiership season ending on Sunday and the distribution of points vital to other clubs in the bottom six, an independent panel will have to act swiftly today to pass judgment.
If Inverness are given the three points, they’ll jump from eighth to seventh in the table. The difference in prize money for clubs finishing in those places is £53,000.
United will just be praying they avoid a fine, with the club already having to make swingeing job cuts as a result of relegation.
Only five players have been told they are wanted for next season with the rest of the top-team squad being released or encouraged to leave as part of a drastic cost-cutting exercise.
The registration cock-up will come as a severe embarrassment to United chairman Stephen Thompson and his under-fire directors, who are already facing the fury of the fans for a season of misery and criticism over how the club is run.
Caretaker boss Gordon Young took charge of the team against Inverness last week and again for last night’s home game against Partick.
Both Robson and Coote were pulled from his squad for the Jags game once details of the rule breach emerged on Monday.
In 2014, SPFL chiefs fined Peterhead £10,000 and ordered the replay of a League One game with Ayr United after Reece Donaldson was fielded while he should have been serving a ban.
However, in this case it is impractical to order a replay of Caley Thistle v United with four days left of the season.