NEIL LENNON was happy AND frustrated during Celtic’s 2-0 win over St Mirren in Pasiley last night to maintain their 13-point advantage at the top of the Premiership.

The interim manager was delighted to see the champions avoid a potential banana skin on their way to an eighth successive title with goals in each half from Timothy Weah and stand-out substitute Ryan Christie.

However, the Irishman was not so impressed after a firecracker incident in the aftermath of the points-clinching goal in the 85th minute.

The loud bang stunned Saints keeper Vaclav Hladky and referee Don Robertson had to make certain the Czech shotstopper was okay to resume while Paisley gaffer Oran Kearney admitted he had been tempted to take his players off the field.

Lennon, who revealed defender Dedryck Boyata is out for the rest of the Premiership campaign with a ruptured hamstring, made a plea to fans afterwards.

The Irishman, speaking to BT Sport, said: “It serves no purpose in a football ground.

“I don’t see the motivation for anyone to bring a flashbang or pyrotechnic into a stadium.

“The health and safety of the players and officials is paramount. It didn’t just spook the St Mirren keeper, but some of our players, too.

“Ryan was also spooked and the goalie might have burst an ear drum.

“It delays the game when we have scored a goal and want to get going again. It serves no purpose whatsoever.

RINGING IN HIS EARS…Saints keeper Vaclav Hladky after the firework exploded.

“The club have made a real stand in condemning it at times. I don’t understand why people want to do that. There is no logic in it.

“Why does an individual want to bring that to a game? It doesn’t impress anyone, it doesn’t add anything.

“It just damages people – and it could have damaged a player. It damages the reputation of the good fans we have and we just don’t want it.

“It’s just totally uncalled-for at a time when we should be enjoying football and, hopefully, having a big celebration in a week or two.”

Kearney, whose side remain two points clear of bottom club Dundee, had already used his three substitutes.

He said: “It is crazy to think we might have had to use an outfield player in goal.

“It is mad to think of how that possibly could have ended up. You are tempted to walk your team off the pitch.”

It was an eventful night for Paisley No.1 Hladky who made a string of good saves against the parkhead side and had no chance with the goals.

The highlight of his evening was a stunning penalty-kick save from Olivier Ntcham just before the half-hour mark as he dived full-length to his right to push the Frenchman’s attempt away.


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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