HIBERNIAN midfielder John McGinn has managed to avoid a ban after he successfully appealed the red card he picked up in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Falkirk.
The 21-year-old, who was facing a two-match suspension following his lunge on Mark Kerr, appeared at Hampden yesterday and saw the punishment downgraded to a booking, clearing the way for him to play against Queen of the South tomorrow and line up in the crucial head to head with Championship leaders Rangers next week.
“We’re delighted it has been overturned,” said manager Alan Stubbs. “We feel we put a really strong case together. And we’re delighted with the fact that the appeal panel has accepted that and agreed with us. The fact he is available for the weekend – we couldn’t have asked for anything better. They got it right.”
McGinn was sent packing before the interval in Saturday’s clash with Falkirk when he was immediately shown the red card by referee Kevin Clancy but, at a meeting at the national stadium yesterday, the SFA disciplinary panel decided to dilute the punishment.
“I think when you look at it, I think the ref may have thought it was two-footed,” added Stubbs.
“But he has come from the side, one of his feet is on the floor, and the
other has caught him. In real time sometimes you will have a difference of opinion where you think: ‘He could be in danger’. And you’ve seen other times where there have been similar tackles and they have been yellow cards. You have black, white and that little grey area. I felt as if it fell into that grey area.
“I’m not denying that he caught him but John is not that type of player. He was devastated at half-time and very apologetic to me – I told him to shut up and stop being so stupid!
“At the end of the game he was the same, he felt like he had let people down. He didn’t let anyone down. He didn’t let himself down, he didn’t let his team down and he certainly didn’t let me down.”
Had the red card been upheld, it would have ruled the Scotland under-21 player out of this weekend’s home game and forced him to sit out the crucial trip to Ibrox on 28 December.
Hibs, who are unbeaten in 16 matches, are hoping they will be in a position to overhaul Mark Warburton’s men and move to the top of the Championship that night and, although they have strength in depth, the former St Mirren player has been an inspirational force for the Leith club since joining in the summer and was the man of the match when the sides last met, in Hibs’ 2-1 victory at Easter Road last month.
READ MORE - Hibs appeal John McGinn red with Rangers in mind