A convenient scapegoat for Neil Lennon?

Celtic boss Neil LennonOn Wednesday night both Glasgow clubs lost to both Edinburgh clubs. Rangers hosted Hibernian and their new manager Colin Calderwood who picked up his first 3 points with an emphatic win. Celtic went to a Hearts team, who prior to the match had only recorded one home win, and the inevitable happened, Celtic lost 0-2.

Despite his team performing poorly Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, chose to turn his anger again on the referee and the way he dealt with three key incidents. Lennon was upset with Joe Ledley’s sending off, being sent to the stands himself and the rejection of a blatant and at the same time justifiable penalty claim.

Lennon said after the game “Once again we’re probably talking about a refereeing performance more than anything else.” With Lennon’s recent outbursts, it seems the Celtic manager is using referees as a scapegoat for his team’s all too obvious shortcomings. However, in light of recent refereeing decisions and associated stories in the Scottish press, questioning the integrity of referees, you can understand Lennon’s frustration and the reasons for his recent outbursts.

If we are to agree that Lennon is using referees as a scapegoat for Celtic’s recent performances, then it would appear that the Scottish FA are using Lennon as an example to any manager or coach who does not respect match officials or in Lennon’s case who dares question their integrity…

Today, Lennon received a two match touchline ban after being sent to the stand during the game at Tynecastle. This is the automatic punishment for dismissal, although it could be increased if referee Craig Thomson’s reports further wrongdoing. As one blogger controversially states, “Hopefully, this will help him mature as a manager and he can maybe accept defeat with some degree of good grace!” It is however, my opinion that Lennon has some justification for his position particularly, when one referee has already admitted to lying in explaining the penalty incident against Dundee United at Tannadice and furthermore, the almost immediate resignation of his assistant following the same incident.

In spite of this I don’t think some minority Celtic supporters endeared the Club to the Scottish public, far less the refereeing fraternity, with their deplorable actions during half-time of the Aberdeen match at Celtic Park. Such demonstrations will only fuel the speculation, in some quarters, that certain sections of the Scottish media and press and indeed the SFA and some of its officials cannot tolerate what they understand of the Club and its traditions.

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