Neil Lennon praised referee Bobby Madden after the official booked Emilio Izaguirre for diving in an attempt to win a penalty in the second half of this rain-lashed affair.
Madden, said Lennon, was “spot-on” in showing the Honduran a yellow card despite the Celtic manager roaring for the penalty at the time.
Lennon admitted that his initial impression of the penalty claim was the wrong one. “I thought the referee had a good game. I got it wrong and he quite rightly booked Emilio. It was an excellent refereeing decision and I thought he had a good game. I thought it was a penalty but, looking at it again it’s clearly not, so the referee got it spot-on.”
Madden may have punished Izaguirre but he went easy on others, most notably Anthony Stokes for a kick at Jordan Forster, who was himself lucky to avoid punishment for his indiscretions. For Celtic, this was a pleasing enough response to the trauma of midweek. For Hibs, the avoidance of the kind of hiding that Celtic doled out to Hearts and Motherwell was the source of some optimism, particularly when they hit a Celtic post themselves and had them in some bother by the end.
Lennon added: “I think it takes two teams to make a game and Hibs set their stall out from minute one to get everyone behind the ball and make it difficult for us to break them down. We were forced to do all the running and score a very good goal. I’m not being critical of Hibs. We go away from home at times in Europe and have to set up that way.”
For his part, Butcher celebrated the cussedness of his team and made no apology for their attempts to stifle their hosts. He said. “Goals will come. They’re working their socks off. I’m very optimistic.”