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Nathan Patterson free to face Celtic in Scottish Cup

:Headline: Nathan Patterson free to face Celtic in Scottish Cup:
Nathan Patterson was recently handed an immediate four-match ban - with a further two games suspended - along with four teammates.
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Nathan Patterson will be free to face Celtic in the Scottish Cup after a date was set for Rangers' appeal against five players' Covid-19 breaches.

The Scottish Football Association has announced the appeal will be held on April 20 – three days after the fourth-round tie at Ibrox.

Patterson was recently handed an immediate four-match ban – with a further two games suspended – along with team-mates Calvin Bassey and Bongani Zungu plus loaned-put pair Brian Kinnear and Dapo Mebude.

The five players were found guilty of breaking SFA rules and not acting in the best interests of football after attending a house gathering during lockdown which was broken up by police.

Patterson scored against Cove Rangers (Jane Barlow/PA)

Rangers submitted an appeal last Friday, which allowed Patterson to play, and score, in Sunday's Scottish Cup win over Cove Rangers.

With fellow right-back James Tavernier out with a knee injury, Patterson could now face Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday and Celtic in the cup the following weekend.

Although centre-back Leon Balogun deputised in the position when Gers recently travelled to Parkhead, Patterson replaced him off the bench.

Steven Gerrard felt the bans were too harsh (Jane Barlow/PA)

Manager Steven Gerrard hit out at the length of the bans on Sunday and claimed Scotland boss Steve Clarke would also be unhappy over Patterson's four-match absence.

"We don't think everything has been taken into consideration when you are talking about the boys in terms of age and how damaging it could be for them in their careers moving forward now," Gerrard said.

"You're talking about one of the brightest prospects ever in terms of right-back. This kid is going to go and play for Scotland and all of a sudden the SFA want to ban him for that long. I don't get it."

Meanwhile, Rangers players and management have launched a seven-day boycott of social media channels to highlight concerns over a "lack of accountability and responsibility" from outlets.

A club statement read: "In particular, we are concerned with the daily racist abuse our players have to endure, and believe that although social media can be a very positive and healthy platform for communication, there is undoubted concern the levels of hate are now spiralling out of control."

The move follows similar action being taken by Swansea and subsequently copied by Birmingham, and in the wake of racist abuse levelled at players such as Glen Kamara and Kemar Roofe.

Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson stated the club was fully behind the players and management.

"Furthermore, we have arranged to meet Facebook and Instagram to underline our growing concerns," he added.

"Having spoken to a wide range of clubs across the United Kingdom, we know these concerns are shared by all clubs and it is fair to say everyone is losing patience with the lack of action from social media companies.

"Rangers hope is that clear and direct action is taken from social media platforms. The basic verification of users, as part of the sign-up process, to any social media platform, will ensure that users are both identifiable and accountable for their actions and words. We will raise this next week in our scheduled meetings.

"We would hope that social media companies recognise the benefit of verified accounts. If they don't, it is time for government to step in and legislate."

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