NEIL WARNOCK has been fined £7,000 over his post-match comments following Middlesbrough’s controversial Championship defeat at Swansea City earlier this month.

Boro, who had earlier seen a Marc Bola strike ruled out by referee Gavin Ward despite Yannick Bolasie clearly winning the ball as he slid in to make a tackle, lost the game 2-1 after Swansea forward Andre Ayew converted a penalty in the seventh minute of stoppage time, his side’s second decisive last-gasp spot-kick in four days. Ward had initially signalled for a corner before changing his mind and pointing to the spot.

Warnock joked that Swans head coach Steve Cooper must be benefiting from the fact his father, Keith, was a former match official, and also predicted he would receive another apology from referees’ chief Alan Wiley.

A Football Association statement said: “Neil Warnock has been fined £7,000 following multiple breaches of FA Rule E3 that followed Middlesbrough FC’s EFL Championship match against Swansea City FC on Saturday 6 March 2021.

“The manager admitted that comments he made during post-match interviews constituted improper conduct in that they question the integrity of the match official, implied bias, were personally offensive and bring the game into disrepute contrary to FA Rule E3.1.

“An independent regulatory commission was subsequently convened and imposed an appropriate sanction.”

Warnock has had a number of run-ins with referees this season, most notably when he was left infuriated by Dean Whitestone's failure to dismiss Jarrad Branthwaite despite the Blackburn defender kicking Dael Fry in the face during Boro's 1-0 defeat at the Riverside in January.

Meanwhile, Boro duo Paddy McNair and George Saville were both involved as Northern Ireland kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 defeat in Italy on Thursday evening.

McNair played the full 90 minutes and Saville came on as a half-time substitute as Ian Baraclough's side lost in Parma.

Northern Ireland return to action when they play the United States in a friendly tomorrow as a warm-up for Wednesday's next qualifier against Bulgaria.