Hibs midfielder Marvin Bartley will make a personal appearance at Hampden tomorrow in a bid to have the red card which threatens to sideline him for Saturday’s clash with Championship leaders Queen of the South rescinded.
Bartley was sent off for a challenge on Ayr United’s Jamie Adams at the weekend with Neil Lennon’s side leading through Jason Cummings’ stunning strike, the Easter Road boss adamant referee Nick Walsh’s decision had a major impact on the game as Hibs saw their 100 per cent league record shattered by goals from Conrad Balatoni and Brian Gilmour.
The 30-year-old was clearly bemused at being dismissed although Walsh had no hesitation in producing the red card for what Lennon afterwards insisted was an “innocuous” incident.
An appeal against the decision was lodged with the SFA yesterday afternoon and now Bartley is prepared to travel to Glasgow to plead his innocence with Hibs understood to believe they have a strong case to have it overturned.
Club officials have closely studied video clips of the challenge from a number of different angles and are convinced they show that, although Adams spectacularly flew through the air, Bartley was fully in control as he went for the ball and that his boot never left the ground.
Walsh will have the chance to view the evidence Hibs have lodged in Bartley’s defence and, if he agrees with their opinion, then he has the chance to overturn his own ruling. However, if he sticks by his decision a three-man panel will convene at the national stadium to hear the case with 30-year-old Bartley, who will be accompanied by George Craig, Hibs’ head of football operations, likely to talk its members through the evidence submitted on his behalf to explain exactly what took place from his point of view.
Meanwhile, Lennon is weighing up whether to offer Neal Eardley an Easter Road contract after the 27-year-old former Birmingham City defender played a second trial match as the club’s development squad drew 3-3 with Falkirk.
Eardley, a free agent, featured in last week’s 2-1 win over St Mirren in Paisley and Lennon and his assistant Garry Parker watched as he played all but five minutes of yesterday’s game at Oriam.
Lennon later travelled to Cappielow to watch last night’s Betfred Cup clash between Morton and Dundee United – whom Hibs play in Edinburgh on Sunday week – while Parker took in Queen of the South’s tie against Rangers at Ibrox ahead of Saturday’s top-of-the-table showdown with the side which knocked them off the summit at the weekend.