Hibs goalkeeper Mark Oxley is set to miss the club’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final – because he lost a contact lens.
Oxley was booked by referee Stephen Finnie for time-wasting as his side desperately hung on for a 2-1 win over holders Inverness last night but, head coach Alan Stubbs revealed, the big Yorkshireman was genuinely struggling because he could not see.
Stubbs was eventually forced to replace Oxley with Otso Virtanen, the young Finn making his debut in a nerve-wracking finale at the Caledonian Stadium.
Today, Stubbs claimed the incident could easily have been avoided if Finnie had simply communicated with Oxley, who had picked up an earlier booking in a previous round of the competition.
Stubbs said: “The referee is supposed to communicate with the players and everybody in the stadium could see that Mark was pointing to his eye.
“He had a problem and, if the referee had asked, he would have said he needed a contact lense. But he obviously chooses not to and booked him.”
As the rules stand, Hibs cannot appeal the yellow card although Stubbs pointed out that Aberdeen’s Graeme Shinnie had a booking rescinded only last week.
It would probably take Finnie’s intervention for that to happen in this instance and Stubbs expressed the hope that common sense would prevail.
Otherwise, Stubbs was naturally delighted to have seen his side bounce back from the disappointment of their League Cup final defeat, striker Anthony Stokes answering his critics with two goals in four first-half minutes.
He said: “Quality always comes through and, no matter what, he is a quality player.”
The forthcoming semi-final – against Dundee United at Hampden on April 16 – will be Hibs’ fourth in the Scottish Cup in just five years.
Stubbs said: “You are not going to come away to a Premiership team and not have to roll your sleeves up. We needed to do that. The lads at the back and in midfield had to contend with a lot of high balls and throw-ins and I think they coped with it well.
“I think the response from the players was the one I knew I was going to get.”