Monday 23 April 2018

Lennon: SFA set dangerous precedent

Gavin McCafferty

Celtic manager Neil Lennon claims the Scottish FA's response to the Old Firm misconduct of Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra has set a "really dangerous precedent".

Bougherra was fined £2,500 by the SFA's disciplinary committee for grabbing hold of referee Calum Murray's wrist while being shown a red card in his side's Scottish Cup defeat by Celtic last month.

Bougherra's team-mate El-Hadji Diouf also escaped with a fine for his misconduct charge, while Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist successfully appealed against a two-match ban for his post-match disagreement with Lennon.

That left the Celtic manager as the only person to receive a ban following the infamous Old Firm encounter -- he accepted an automatic four-match touchline suspension, but only served one game after effectively getting it reduced on a technicality.

Lennon said: "You have to take each case on its own merits but the furore after mine was widespread and quite condemning. There was quite a lot of condemnation after this one but the results were different and I find that hard to take."

Lennon noted a perceived gap in SFA chief executive Stewart Regan's rhetoric and the committee's actions.

A day after the game, Regan condemned the "inflammatory and irresponsible behaviour" and declared himself "deeply embarrassed".

Diouf was fined £5,000 for failing to leave the field of play promptly and throwing his shirt into the crowd following his post-match red card.

"If you look at what Stewart Regan said after the game, then it totally undermined what he said, the results of the disciplinary committee," former Celtic captain Lennon said.

"I still find it interesting that I was the only one to suffer a ban out of the four people who were up for disciplinary reasons. I find it difficult to understand."

The SFA would not comment on the situation but it is believed the main reason for Bougherra's apparently lenient punishment was because of the evidence given by Murray. Regan has promised a more open approach to disciplinary matters next season.

But Lennon is not overly optimistic. "The game has got to evolve, we've got to move with the times -- I don't think we have been. If you look at a lot of cases this season, a lot of the results show there has to be change," he said.

Irish Independent

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