JASON CUMMINGS is free to play for Hibernian against Falkirk at Easter Road tomorrow after an SFA charge that he made an offensive gesture towards Hearts supporters was found not proven.
The 19-year-old striker was cited by SFA Compliance Officer Tony McGlennan for his celebration in front of the home fans at Tynecastle last Saturday after opening the scoring for Hibs in the 1-1 derby draw.
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Hibs rejected the fixed one-match suspension offer and decided to contest the charge. Yesterday’s not proven verdict from a fast track disciplinary tribunal at Hampden means Cummings is available for selection against Falkirk at Easter Road tomorrow.
That is a significant boost for Hibs manager Alan Stubbs, with Cummings enjoying a productive streak of form during which he has scored in each of his last three appearances.
Two other fast track tribunals yesterday provided fresh ammunition to critics of Willie Collum, one of Scottish football’s highest-profile referees.
Two controversial red cards administered by the Fifa-listed official over the festive period, to St Mirren midfielder Kenny McLean and Motherwell defender Stephen McManus, were both rescinded on appeal.
McLean was dismissed for what Collum judged to be a head-butt towards Ross Barbour during St Mirren’s 2-1 home defeat by Kilmarnock on New Year’s Day. All three goals in the match came from contentious penalty awards, while Collum also sent off Kilmarnock match-winner Craig Slater for a second bookable offence when he celebrated his goal with the visiting fans.
St Mirren’s caretaker manager Gary Teale will now have McLean available for tomorrow’s Premiership fixture at home to league leaders
Collum’s decision to send off McManus for handball when he blocked a Jonny Hayes shot on the line in Motherwell’s 2-0 defeat by Aberdeen at Fir Park last Sunday was also overturned. Television evidence clearly showed the ball struck McManus on the shoulder. The former Celtic captain is now available for Motherwell’s trip to face Dundee at Dens Park tomorrow.
“I was bitterly disappointed and frustrated to be red carded last week, but I do also accept that mistakes happen and are part of the game,” said McManus.
“I am obviously pleased the red card has been rescinded and I very much look forward to Saturday’s game against Dundee.”
Motherwell’s general manager Alan Burrows added: “I would like to thank the Compliance Officer, Tony McGlennan, for arranging the hearing so swiftly along with the members of the panel who sat and considered our appeal.
“It’s a satisfying conclusion and a good example of how the improved disciplinary procedure can work to ensure a fair and transparent outcome.”
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