PARS chairman Ross McArthur has applauded Dean Shiels for his "courage" in standing against discriminatory abuse.

And he wants fans of Athletic's opponents to think of the "hurtful" implications abusive chanting from the stands has towards the player and his family.

McArthur has this afternoon released a statement following the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings against Falkirk player Joe McKee.

SFA bosses banned the midfielder for four matches indefinitely yesterday after being found in breach of "excessive conduct" under role 202, which states "no player shall commit excessive misconduct at a match".

McKee, alongside team-mate Kevin O'Hara, were summoned to Hampden for making malicious comments to Shiels about his missing eye during Dunfermline's Irn-Bru Cup loss at the Falkirk Stadium in October.

Last month, O'Hara was hammered with an eight-game suspension for his role in the incidents, and McArthur said the matter has been "very difficult and difficult" for both Shiels and the club.

"This matter has been a very delicate and difficult matter to handle, both for our club and particularly Dean, outwith the glare of publicity," the chairman said.

"We had an over-riding duty of care to Dean, as our employee, and tried at all times to provide the best possible support and help to him during this very difficult process.

"I have to say that his resilience and strength of character has been exceptional, particularly as he knew there could be potential consequences of supporting the SFA process, in one way or another.

"Sadly, that has proven to be the case already.

"Dean is married with a young family, therefore further discriminatory chants are not only hurtful to Dean, but his wider family, friends and team-mates.

"I sincerely hope people will now take the time to remember this and think about their actions.

"Our club cannot condone behaviour of this kind, to one of our players, as discriminatory abuse has no place in our game, whether on the pitch or in the stands.

"Dean was keen to show to others, who may be subject to any form of abuse in future, that they should not accept it and stand firm against it. He wanted to show the best possible example, and I genuinely applaud him for having the courage to do so.

"I would also like to acknowledge that we have received kind and supportive comments from a number of Falkirk supporters, which have been very much appreciated.

"Finally, I would to take the time to thank the SFA Compliance Officer, Tony McGlennon for his own professionalism in dealing with this matter so rigorously, to ensure justice was ultimately served.

"Unfortunately, Tony’s role is a difficult one to execute, and he is invariably on a hiding to nothing. However, I wish to acknowledge that in all my dealings with him, he has always executed his role in an entirely fair and highly professional manner.

"I sincerely hope that both of our clubs, their players and supporters can move on from this sorry episode and put the matter firmly behind us.

"Rivalry and passion in sport is healthy, so should be encouraged but it is surely important that we all channel this appropriately."