Hibs remain quietly confident of Darren McGregor winning his appeal against the red card he was shown following his altercation with Kudus Oyenuga despite the SFA’s compliance officer taking no further action against the Morton forward, who was accused of feigning injury to get the Easter Road defender sent off.
While the Cappielow club accepted the two-match ban dished out to Oyenuga after he sparked the melee which marred last week’s match between the clubs following a reckless challenge on Jordon Forster, Hibs appealed McGregor’s sending-off, adamant he hadn’t – as his opponent’s actions suggested – been guilty of a head-butt.
McGregor rushed to confront Oyenuga after he’d left Forster writhing on the Easter Road turf – the defender having suffered a shoulder injury which has put him out of action for four weeks – the Greenock player then seen to clutch his face and fall to the ground.
Hibs boss Neil Lennon – who along with his opposite number Jim Duffy was yesterday charged by the SFA for his part in the melee – accused Oyenuga of “an act of cowardice” in feigning injury to con referee Nick Walsh into sending McGregor off. However, the SFA’s compliance officer Tony McGlennan decided there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Oyenuga with causing a match official to make an incorrect decision by committing an act of simulation, meaning he won’t receive any further punishment.
McGlennan’s ruling has led to some speculating that Hibs may have trouble clearing McGregor’s name at tomorrow’s hearing at Hampden.
Officials of the Easter Road club have, though, pored over footage of the incident and believe they can take the three-man panel through the incident frame-by-frame and convince them that McGregor, who has been charged with violent conduct, made no contact with Oyenuga. If they fail McGregor, allowed to play in last weekend’s Championship match against Dunfermline pending the appeal, will be hit with a two-match ban ruling him out of Saturday’s clash between Hibs and Morton at Cappielow – one which Oyenuga will miss as he completes his suspension – and the following week’s home game with Queen of the South.
Lennon and Duffy, meanwhile, have been charged with alleged misconduct relating to disciplinary rule 203, as has Morton assistant manager Craig McPherson. Lennon has been charged with adopting an “aggressive attitude” to Oyenuga, Duffy, another member of the Morton staff and match officials.
Duffy and McPherson have been charged with adopting an aggressive attitude to the Hibees head coach. Both clubs have been charged with the same offence, that “three or more players and/or members of team staff from your club, were involved in a confrontation with opposing players and/or members of team staff.”
A hearing will be held for all parties on Thursday, April 20 – two days before Hibs face Aberdeen in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals at Hampden.
n Hibs today revealed they are on track to sell an all-time record number of season tickets with fans having snapped up 5000 in the five weeks since the campaign was launched.
Supporters have until 5pm on Friday to take advantage of the cut-price “Early Bird” offer and the chance to spread the cost of their ticket over 11 months interest free, prices having been frozen at 2015/16 levels.
Today, expressing the hope that the record of 11,500 may be broken, Greig Mailer, the club’s head of marketing and commercial, said: “We’ve reached 5000 seson tickets sold which is ahead of the target we had set ourselves and is significantly up on last year. “If sales continue at this rate there is a good chance we will have an all-time record number of season tickets next season.”