An ANTSY Tommy Wright advised his counterpart, former Northern Ireland team-mate and friend, Neil Lennon, that he should stop making comments about St Johnstone players in the wake of a late Steven MacLean penalty claim when the game was at 2-1.
In the 87th minute, MacLean came in contact with Anthony Stokes and went over, the St Johnstone player complaining bitterly to referee Alan Muir when Muir declined to give the decision MacLean’s way.
Lennon utterly dismissed the notion of a penalty. “Nah, it was never a penalty,” said the Celtic manager. “Rubbish. Steven has a tendency to go down easily at times.” The allegation riled Wright somewhat. “Listen,” he said. “I have a golden rule where I don’t comment on other team’s players so maybe Neil shouldn’t comment on mine.”
When asked if he thought MacLean had gone down easily – a euphemism for diving – Wright replied: “For me, no chance. You are saying that he went down under a challenge but all players go down under a challenge all the time. From where I was standing I couldn’t see if it was in the box. I thought it was a foul and Steven said he had no reason to go down. He’s an honest lad.”
Lennon said his players were tired physically and mentally following their Champions League match in Milan on Wednesday and that it showed in the final ten minutes yesterday. “It was understandable. We had no time to prepare for this game. The first half was the best we have played this season and it was a big, big win. With Inverness losing, it’s given everybody a lift.
“I’m not going to let the last ten minutes take away from a top performance. Everybody thinks we have a big squad but we don’t, not when we’re playing the amount of games we’ve been playing. We deserved a bit of luck for the way we played for the first three-quarters of the game.”