CELTIC midfielder Victor Wanyama is free to play in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals this weekend after winning an appeal against his St Mirren Park red card.
The Kenyan was sent off for serious foul play following a foul on Paul McGowan during a 1-1 draw against St Mirren on 31 March. But the offence was downgraded to a yellow card for unsporting behaviour during a Scottish Football Association disciplinary tribunal yesterday. Wanyama has now avoided a two-match suspension which would have ruled him out of Sunday’s Hampden clash against Dundee United.
After the Clydesdale Bank Premier League match in Paisley, Celtic manager Neil Lennon was scathing of the performance of referee Bobby Madden, who controversially disallowed a St Mirren goal and denied them a strong penalty claim for handball before giving the home side a late penalty for an incident which later earned Esmael Goncalves a two-match ban for diving.
Lennon said: “That was the most appalling refereeing performance I have seen for a long, long time.”
Lennon was later issued with a misconduct charge by the SFA over “repeated use of offensive, insulting and abusive language” following a verbal clash with St Mirren captain Jim Goodwin.
Celtic have lost their last three matches at the national stadium – semi-finals against St Mirren and Hearts and a Scottish Communities League Cup final against Kilmarnock. But assistant manager Johan Mjallby has urged his players to forget that statistic and focus on reproducing the level of performance that took them to within a point of the SPL title with a 3-0 victory over Hibernian on Saturday.
Mjallby told Celtic TV: “Hopefully this Hampden hoodoo that we have got right now is forgotten about. We just need to put in a good performance and why not?
“The confidence should be there because against Hibernian we played quite well and if we put that into the game on Sunday it’s going to be hard for Dundee United to live with us.”
Meanwhile, unsettled Celtic striker Miku last night confirmed he is to return to Getafe at the end of the season. The South American forward has been a huge disappointment for Lennon.
Venezuelan forward Miku came to Parkhead with a proven La Liga pedigree, but has only managed two SPL goals in 11 appearances for the champions-elect this term. And he has confirmed he will return to Spain once the season ends.
Miku said: “I would have liked to play more, but there have been some issues and it hasn’t worked out for me. I’m still on loan, but I have to return to Getafe once the season ends. It has been difficult to adapt in Scotland. Because I was only here for a year, it has proved to be difficult to adjust to the pace of the game. And now that I have gained that experience, the season is ending.
“I want to help Getafe in any way possible next season. I will have a holiday and then return to Spain.
“Last season, I was the top scorer at the club, so I want to speak to their coaching staff and see what plans they have for me.”