Celtic manager Neil Lennon calls for summit to overhaul SFA disciplinary system

Celtic manager Neil Lennon supervises training ahead of the game at Kilmarnock. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
Celtic manager Neil Lennon supervises training ahead of the game at Kilmarnock. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
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Neil Lennon has called on the Scottish FA to consult Premiership bosses in a fresh bid to clear up what he describes as “confusion” and “unrest” over disciplinary procedures.

Celtic manager Lennon remains bemused by the three-match ban his midfielder Ryan Christie is currently serving amid the fall-out from the Old Firm match at Parkhead on 29 December.

The champions were highly critical of Christie’s ban, imposed retrospectively for what the Scottish FA described as an act of “brutality” in a clash with Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos, and claimed the disciplinary system is not fit for purpose.

Rangers have also expressed unhappiness after a notice of complaint was issued to them by Scottish FA compliance officer Clare Whyte last week for the conduct of their players and staff at Celtic Park.

It is a year since Whyte and Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell hosted a summit with top-flight bosses at McDiarmid Park to address their concerns and Lennon believes another
meeting should be called with more serious consideration given to the views of himself and his fellow managers

“I would be in favour of getting together again,” said Lennon. “There’s still too much confusion and controversy.

“I look at the Ryan Christie incident and it still bewilders me how he got a three-game ban for that.

“There is no consistency to it. If that means the heads of clubs getting together and getting some sort of clarity, some kind of straight line of dealing with these things as quickly as possible, then all the better.

“The longer it lingers, there’s confusion and debate, then there is anger. There are stories that aren’t true and players, managers and everyone else get angry.

“It’s a difficult job for the SFA and the compliance officer but we need to simplify it. Make it more straightforward.

“The managers should have an input. We had the meeting last season but the main talking point was about VAR.

“There’s legal stuff which comes into it, which is a world away from my world, but we would like it to be a little bit more straightforward.

“In terms of suspensions and the changes in the way things are done, there was a lot of debate about that but there’s still a bit of unrest.

“As managers, we have a better understanding of it. We’re talking about inconsistencies when we see something happen and yet it goes unpunished when a similar thing happens and it is punished.

“It’s the inconsistency of it all. Yes, we need a compliance officer. There has to be somebody who looks at things and says ‘that’s not right and within the laws of the game.’

“If there is a punishment to be given out – for inciting crowds and that sort of stuff – then so be it. Obviously we want order within the game but we want common sense as well.”