Celtic manager Neil Lennon is set to be handed a two match ban after being sent to the stands during the 2-0 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle.
Following the game, Lennon slammed Craig Thomson after sent off midfielder Joe Ledley, followed by a clear-cut penalty after Ryan Stevenson handled in the box, not given.
A statutory punishment for being sent to the stands is a two match suspension, although given Lennon’s post-match comments to the media he could face further punishment.
Thomson sent off Ledley following a two footed tackle on Hearts midfielder Ian Black, with Lennon stating that it wasn’t a foul never mind a sending off. Stating that it was a disgraceful decision.
And with the score at 2-0, Celtic were denied a penalty after Stevenson handled the ball in the box. At that point, Lennon was sent to the stand after protesting at the penalty not being awarded. Replays showed that Stevenson did in fact handle the ball knocking it away from Gary Hooper’s toe.
“The referee just called me over on the advice of the fourth official and sent me to the stand. It was a scandalous decision,” Lennon told BBC Scotland. “I’ll seek clarification, but they’ll probably have their story ready. Once again we’re probably talking about a refereeing performance more than anything else.
He continued, “In the second half we started the stronger team and were playing very well, then that sending off changed the game. I was standing 45 yards away and I could see it was a penalty. So if the referee doesn’t see it the stand-side linesman should see it. It was clearly hand-ball, and I still don’t know why I was sent to the stand myself.”
Lennon continued his volley attacking the officials, “They keep getting big decisions wrong as far as I’m concerned – and game-changing decisions as well. Craig Thomson’s supposed to be one of the best in the country. It doesn’t say a lot for the rest if that’s the case.”
Was Lennon right in his condemnation of the officials? Was the officials in the right over their decisions? Or was it the officials getting Lennon and Celtic back for the increased publicity surrounding the McDonald Cover-up scandal? Okay the last one is really taking the piss, but we thought we would throw it in for all those conspiracy theory junkies out there.