CELTIC manager Neil Lennon faces a new touchline ban after the Scottish Football Association instigated disciplinary action over his alleged “insulting and abusive language” against St Mirren captain Jim Goodwin.
Lennon has been accused of misconduct during his team’s 1-1 draw at St Mirren Park on Sunday, specifically a “failure to behave in a responsible manner as an occupant of the technical area by repeated use of offensive, insulting and abusive language”.
The microphones on the live television coverage of the game appeared to pick up Lennon swearing at Goodwin following a tackle near the visiting dugout. Lennon has not been offered a fixed suspension and has seven days to respond to SFA compliance officer Vincent Lunny’s notice of complaint with a hearing date pencilled in for 18 April.
But Lennon still has an active three-match suspended ban in place after being found guilty of misconduct following his reaction to the controversial decisions at the end of Celtic’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Hearts a year ago.
The latest charge relates to a verbal exchange in the 75th minute of the SPL clash in Paisley, after Goodwin put in a strong but fair challenge on Celtic’s Dylan McGeouch. A voice which appears to be Lennon’s was heard to say: “Well done Jim, think you’re a hard man, eh?” before swearing was also heard.
After the match, Lennon described Bobby Madden’s display as the “most appalling refereeing performance I have seen for a long, long time”.
Madden made several dubious major decisions, including a penalty following an incident which saw St Mirren forward Esmael Goncalves issued with a notice of complaint for alleged simulation.
Celtic have also appealed against Victor Wanyama’s red card in the game. The Kenyan midfielder was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Paul McGowan, a decision Lennon branded “ridiculous”. The SFA confirmed they had received Celtic’s appeal with a hearing set for next Thursday, meaning Wanyama will be free to face Hibernian on Saturday in the SPL.
Meanwhile, Rangers defender Chris Hegarty has been offered a two-match ban for allegedly stamping on an opponent during his team’s goalless draw at Montrose. Hegarty, 20, has until today to respond to the SFA notice of complaint.
A hearing will be held the following Thursday if Rangers opt to challenge the punishment.