Hibs prepare for battle over Liam Miller sending-off

HIBERNIAN have appealed against Liam Miller's sending-off against Kilmarnock at the weekend, believing that any offence fell well short of the violent conduct which referee Craig Thomson gave as the reason for the dismissal.

• Liam Miller was sent off against Kilmarnock after clipping the heels of Connor Sammon. Picture: SNS

Miller was red-carded after clipping the heels of Kilmarnock striker Connor Sammon during the second half of the home team's 2-1 win at Rugby Park. Thomson awarded the free-kick immediately, but only dismissed the Hibs midfielder after consulting with his fourth official to establish the identity of the offender.

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It is not yet certain when the appeal will be heard, but until it is, Miller will be free to play. Should the red card be upheld, the player will receive a 12-point penalty, which in addition to the four bookings he has already picked up this season would land him with a three-match ban.

The Scottish Football Association has appeals panel members constantly on standby, but the poor weather could cause a delay in the hearing. A spokesman for the SFA said last night that a date for the hearing had yet to be determined.

That means it is almost certain that Miller will be free to play in the rearranged league match at Hamilton tomorrow night should the game go on. New Douglas Park was unplayable at the weekend because of a burst water main, and last night it appeared doubtful that the problem would be sorted on time. A pitch inspection will take place tomorrow morning.

If the game does go ahead and Miller is free to play, Hibs' only likely absentee is Sol Bamba. The defender was forced off on Saturday by a hamstring strain, and was rated doubtful yesterday by assistant manager Derek Adams.

Hibs' next match is at home to Aberdeen on Boxing Day, to be followed by another home fixture against Dundee United on Wednesday 29 and then the Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle on New Year's Day.

"The appeal has gone in," said Adams. "We've appealed against the sending-off, which was for violent conduct. We'll see what happens. Hopefully the SFA look at it quickly and we get a decision as soon as possible. Looking at the video evidence we don't believe that the case is a sending-off for violent conduct."

Adams, who took training yesterday as manager Colin Calderwood is ill, also pleaded with Hibs supporters to show patience as the club tries to lift itself clear of the relegation zone. The defeat by Kilmarnock took Calderwood's record since he succeeded John Hughes as manager to seven points from eight games, whereas in their previous eight league games, Hibs earned eight points. That record has already led some to conclude there has been no progress since Calderwood's arrival at Easter Road, but Adams suggested otherwise."I've only been here a short space of time," he said, referring to his appointment last month, several weeks into Calderwood's reign.

"The progress has been that they've obviously won a few games in that time."

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The record is, in fact, two wins and a draw. But Adams is confident that those wins - at Ibrox, and at home to Motherwell - were at least an indication of what the team are capable of on their day.

"Things do not turn round quickly," he continued. "I know that fans and media think that - they think that everybody's got this secret wand.

"Well, I'm afraid not. I'm afraid it's a long, hard process and a lot of hard work. There's a lot of things that need to be looked at.

"It's a long campaign and there are a lot of things that can unfold between now and the end of the season. We're only halfway through the season. We've got the transfer window to come, and the summer where there is time to revamp and move forward.

"On Saturday, we performed well in large spells of the game and were unfortunate not to have gone ahead. We dominated large spells in the game in the second-half."

With 16 players out of contract in the summer, the close season is likely to see more movement in and out of the club than next month's transfer window, and Adams refused to give anything away when asked what Hibs planned to do once that window opened.

"We haven't sat down and talked about yet," he said. "But we will do over the next few weeks and take it from there."