Hibs caretaker manager Eddie May insists Darnell Johnson should be cleared of any wrongdoing at Tuesday’s Scottish FA disciplinary hearing.
The on loan Leicester City defender is facing a two-game ban after being charged with an alleged breach of disciplinary rule 200 – serious foul play – over his challenge on Celtic’s Emilio Izaguirre.
However, May has confirmed the club will contest the charge at Hampden.
The incident happened in the 80th minute of the Leith side’s 2-0 defeat at Parkhead last Wednesday and led to the Bhoys left-back being taken from the field on a stretcher.
Even though the 20-year-old was booked for the tackle by referee Craig Thomson, SFA compliance officer Clare Whyte has decided further action is necessary.
Ironically, Johnson missed Saturday’s 3-1 Scottish Cup victory over Raith Rovers with an injury he sustained during the challenge.
May said: “Darnell got injured in the tackle – that particular tackle – so it will be very interesting what the compliance officer comes up with it in terms of their findings of the tackle.
“I thought it was a tackle that was robust and there were a few other ones in the game.
“As long as nobody is seriously hurt, I thought it should have just been part of the game and move on from there.”
Should the ruling be upheld, Johnson will be ineligible for the games against Hamilton and Dundee.
Hibs were privately furious that no Celtic player was pulled up by Whyte following separate incidents in the game.
The Leith outfit were less than pleased with Bhoys defender Jozo Simunovic’s aerial challenge on Oli Shaw after the striker was also forced off after taking a blow to the head in the incident.
They also feel Celtic captain Scott Brown’s tackle on Mark Mark Milligan warranted potential retrospective punishment, while Hibs were disappointed at seeing Oliver Burke appearing to dive inside the box.