Neil Lennon has insisted he still harbours a sense of injustice even although Hibs midfielder Marvin Bartley has had the red card he picked up in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat by Ayr United rescinded.
The Easter Road boss claimed Bartley’s challenge on Ayr’s Jamie Adams was “innocuous” and was adamant referee Nick Walsh’s decision had a clear bearing on the outcome of the match, with Hibs having been ahead at that point through Jason Cummings’ eighth goal of the season only for Conrad Balatoni and Brian Gilmour to leave his side stunned.
Hibs lodged an appeal with the SFA with Bartley expected to make an appearance before a judicial panel at Hampden today to plead his case backed up by what the Capital club felt was an iron-cast submission on his behalf having studied video evidence from a number of angles of the incident,
However, the SFA’s compliance officer Tony McGlennan and Walsh studied the evidence submitted by Hibs yesterday before deciding the official had got it wrong, deeming his tackle worthy of no more than a yellow card, a ruling which frees Bartley to play against Championship leaders Queen of the South on Saturday.
Hibs travel to Palmerston Park a point behind the Dumfries club after having their 100 per cent start to the league shattered when, as Lennon insisted, they could have been two ahead and looking to widen that gap.
He said: “I’m glad they have seen sense. We felt at the time it was not a red card, that there were worse tackles in the game than Marvin’s. Obviously, we’re happy to have Marvin available for the weekend but there is a sense of injustice as the red card had a big influence on the game.
“We lost an important player and went down to ten men at a stage of the game when we were really on top. Between Jason scoring and Marvin being sent off we had five or six attempts on goal – we doubled the number of shots we’d had in the game in that period – and were really starting to turn the screw. I’m convinced we’d have gone on to win the game comfortably.
“Instead, it gave Ayr a foothold in the game that they did not really deserve.”
Lennon revealed losing Bartley influenced his substitutions, his intention having been to bring on midfielder Dylan McGeouch but was forced to change his mind.
He said: “We were also looking to break the club record for the number of league games won at the start of the season so while we are pleased the red card has been rescinded, there is a still a sense of annoyance that the decision cost us a point or all three.
“We pride ourselves on our disciplinary record but this was a decision which went against us. But it’s good news for Marvin and we can now plan for Saturday knowing he is available. We’ll be getting ourselves ready and we’ll head there to have a go.”
• Hibs youngster Oli Shaw has been included in the Scotland Under-19 squad for matches against Oriam on October 4 and 6.