KELVIN WILSON runs the risk of missing the League Cup semi-final after deciding not to accept the two-game suspension offered to him by the SFA.
Compliance Officer Vincent Lunny yesterday made the offer of an automatic ban after studying TV evidence of Wednesday's SPL game between Dundee and Celtic. During the first half, Wilson clashed with striker John Baird off the ball. The Dundee player appeared to be caught on the face by an elbow.
Wilson has been charged with violent conduct, and offered the suspension. He has until 3pm on Monday to inform the SFA that he will not accept the punishment, and has already been informed that a hearing will take place on Thursday.
Celtic are adamant their player is innocent, and are now prepared to run the risk of losing him for vital games.
If the hearing finds him guilty, he will have to sit out the SPL game against Hearts when the action resumes after the mid-season break on January 19 – and the League Cup semi-final against St Mirren the following weekend.
This could a double whammy for Celtic as Wilson's central defensive partner, Efe Ambrose, will be away on Afican Cup of Nations duty with Nigeria between the middle of January and the first week of February.
Manager Neil Lennon hopes the fact Baird admitted he had tugging Wilson's shirt and that he did not think there was any intent on the Celtic's player's part will be taken into account, along with Wilson's excellent disciplinary record.
The other options open to Wilson were to accept the suspension and inform the SFA of this immediately, which would have meant he sat out today's game against Hibs and Wednesday's game against Motherwell.
Even with Charlie Mulgrew out of the game at Easter Road with a rib muscle injury – James Forrest is also absent after suffering another hamstring strain – there is plenty cover available to Lennon.
Thomas Rogne, Mikael Lustig and Victor Wanyama could all step in to partner Ambrose.
Wilson could also have waited until Monday to inform the SFA he was accepting the ban, which would have allowed him to face Hibs, but miss the midweek game against Motherwell then the match against Hearts after the break.
But the club are standing behind the player in his fight to clear his name.