Aberdeen midfielder Jonny Hayes says he is extremely disappointed to miss out on his side’s crucial double-header in Edinburgh after losing his red card appeal.
The Irishman was sent off by referee Craig Thomson for a challenge on Celtic defender Mikael Lustig in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Ronny Deila’s side.
Hayes offered to pay the £1,000 to challenge the decision himself – an offer the club turned down – but the appeal was rejected by the SFA’s disciplinary panel at yesterday’s Hampden hearing.
The 28-year-old will now serve an automatic two-game ban, which means he will miss this Sunday’s Scottish Premiership match against Hearts at Tynecastle as well as Wednesday’s League Cup third-round tie against Hibernian at Easter Road.
Hayes, who has started every game for Aberdeen this season, said: “I am obviously disappointed with the outcome.
“Playing Hearts at Tynecastle is always a fixture I look forward to.
“Hopefully, the boys can continue our winning run.
“The game has changed, unfortunately. I just need to learn from it and move on now.”
Mark Reynolds will also miss the game with a shoulder injury but Ash Taylor should be fit to feature at Tynecastle, despite requiring eight stitches after a clash of heads with Hamilton defender Lucas Tagliapietra in Tuesday’s 1-0 win.
The Dons have a five-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership but manager Derek McInnes is confident his players can cope with the pressure.
The Aberdeen manager said: “That expectation was here last year and, to a lesser extent, the year before. There’s always expectation on Aberdeen teams to perform but we’ve now got a team that can meet that expectation and aren’t fazed by it.
“Last year there was desire and expectation from everyone to keep a title race going of some sort. We learned to deal with that week in, week out, home and away.
“There were a lot of supporters with a real need for the team to keep winning and we managed to deal with that.
“I am not too concerned about that expectation.
“What players have to do is keep trusting in how they work Monday to Friday. They need to focus on their performance and not be too anxious about things they can’t affect.
“Results will come if you do things properly. So, don’t get too down when you lose and don’t get too high when you win.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen’s Adam Rooney has been included in Ireland’s 40-man provisional squad for the Euro 2016 qualifiers against Germany and Poland next month.