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WATCH: Rangers, Canada midfielder with vicious red card challenge

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Gross.

Canada and Glasgow Rangers midfielder Scott Arfield was sent off this weekend for a terrible sliding challenge on Hearts of Midlothian goalkeeper Zdebek Zlamal.

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Steven Gerrard‘s men led 2-1 in the 72nd minute when Arfield, 30, charged hard toward Zlamal, who was in the process of controlling a ball on the goal line.

Zlamal got hold of the ball a second before Arfield slid hard into the ball, going through it to connect with the goalkeeper’s face.

Rangers held on to win, taking a single-point lead on rivals Celtic atop the table (though the Bhoys have a match-in-hand).

There’s really no defense for it, as it’s going to be called every time. Any player who’s been anywhere near an attacking third is cognizant of the goalkeeper’s protection.

Maybe the former Burnley man just didn’t care, hopeful of that third goal to put away Hearts.

The Scottish midfielder with 13 caps and a goal for Canada is sure to miss time after the incident.

Scottish club Hearts fields ineligible player in Cup match

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Scottish club Hearts of Midlothian has issued a statement saying they are “embarrassed” after fielding an ineligible player in a League Cup match against 5th-tier semi-pro team Cove Rangers on Wednesday.

18-year-old Hearts youth product Andrew Irving entered in the 65th minute as a substitute for Olly Lee, but was ineligible due to what the club is calling an “administrative error.” Irving, according to the Hearts statement, signed a contract extension back in January but the paperwork was never correctly submitted to the league, hence leaving Irving as unregistered.

“It is with much embarrassment that we have to advise that during last night’s Betfred Cup group stage match away to Cove Rangers, Hearts inadvertently fielded an ineligible player,” Hearts Chief Executive Ann Budge said in a statement on Thursday morning.

“While stringent processes are already in place to try to prevent something of this nature occurring, clearly mistakes can happen.  An additional step in our internal procedures will be implemented immediately to try to ensure this cannot happen again. The club would like to apologize to its supporters, to Cove Rangers Football Club and to the footballing authorities for this inadvertent breach of the rules.”

Since the Scottish League Cup – currently known as the Betfred Cup – has utilized a group stage format the last few years, it is possible that the club will be docked points instead of ejected from the tournament. Previously, clubs such as Brechin, Dunfermline, and East Stirling were all disqualified in the past for similar offenses, according to Mark Donaldson of ESPN. The league will hold a hearing on Monday to determine the appropriate sanctions.

Hearts won the match 2-1 on a 57th minute goal by former Cardiff City, Plymouth, and Rangers striker Steve MacLean.

This is the second incident of this nature of late, as Major League Soccer club LAFC is under investigation for potentially fielding an illegal seven international players in a US Open Cup match against Portland Timbers on Wednesday. As a result, US Soccer postponed the draw for the semifinals until the investigation is complete.

Scottish club Hearts apologizes to former player over racism

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EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) Scottish soccer team Hearts has apologized to former player Isma Goncalves after he said racial abuse forced him to leave.

The Portuguese forward, who is black, joined Uzbekistan club Pakhtakor Tashkent last month after a year in Edinburgh.

[ MORE: Cahill “devastated” by Mason retirement ]

Goncalves is now quoted as telling the Edinburgh Evening News newspaper that “there were some people making racist comments to me in the stadium and my family did not feel OK about this.”

Hearts says it will be contacting Goncalves “to apologize to him and his family on behalf of the thousands of supporters who share our anger and disappointment that they were subjected to this behavior.”

Hearts added that it was unaware Goncalves had faced abuse at the time, but plans procedures to make it easier for discrimination to be reported.

Celtic’s record unbeaten run ends at 69 matches

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Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run has ended at 69 matches, and it ended with a thud.

Tynecastle Park was the scene for a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Hearts, a defeat started by a 16-year-old’s first Scottish Premiership goal.

[ REPORT: Luiz done at Chelsea? ]

Harry Cochrane’s his name, and his 26th minute goal gave Hearts the lead, and it was 2-0 by halftime through Kyle Lafferty, the ex-Burnley and Norwich player.

David Milinkovic scored three minutes after halftime, as the wake-up call didn’t arrive at the break, and added a penalty kick late in the match.

Celtic has a two-point lead on second-place Aberdeen with a match-in-hand. Rangers sit five-points back.

Sixty-nine games! Remarkable in any league. Here’s what Rodgers had to say:

“But I also want to congratulate my players. To have gone through 69 games and this to be their first defeat; of course it’s a sore one when you are beaten like that but they can hold their heads up. They have been absolutely amazing over those 18 months.”

Report: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson

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Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.

The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.

Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.

According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.