BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs insists justice was done at Hampden yesterday after John McGinn’s controversial red card against Falkirk was reduced to a yellow.
The 21-year-old was dismissed after 43 minutes of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with the Bairns following a mis-timed challenge on Mark Kerr inside his own penalty box.
Referee Kevin Clancy had no hesitation in ordering off the combative midfielder, who was fresh from collecting November’s Championship player of the month.
However, a the SFA’s three-person appeal panel found in McGinn’s favour during a morning hearing at the national stadium, judging the challenge only worthy of a caution.
The Scotland under-21 captain now be free to face Queens tomorrow and, crucially, Rangers at Ibrox next weekend.
“They got it right,” said a visibly thrilled Stubbs, reacting to the verdict. “We feel we put a really strong case together and we’re delighted it has been overturned
“We’re delighted 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.
“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 felt into that grey area.
“I’m not denying that he caught him but John is not that type of player.”
McGinn appeared at Hampden in person for the hearing and was accompanied by Hibs’ director of football operations George Craig.
And the result will be a welcome filip for McGinn, who was left devastated following his dismissal, according to Stubbs.
He continued: “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. Well, 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.”
Meanwhile, McGinn has expressed his relief following the verdict – admitting that his thorough preparations for the hearing have driven his girlfriend to distraction.
The former St Mirren starlet told Sky Sports News HQ: “My girlfriend will be doing her nut! I’ve watched the incident about 100 times, picking the bones out of it.
“Thankfully I don’t need to watch it again and I can concentrate on Saturday’s game.
“I’m glad we were given the opportunity to put our point across and I felt we did that. There was never any malice or intent from myself and I was disappointed I was sent off. I would never go out to hurt a fellow professional and I’m glad it has been cleared up.”