Celtic manager Neil Lennon last night called on the SFA to investigate Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack over a twitter post made on the early hours of Boxing Day in which he claimed Kristoffer Ajer had feigned injury in the challenge by Sam Cosgrove last weekend that resulted in the Pittodrie striker receiving a straight red-card - a decision that was upheld on appeal.
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Speaking yesterday about the tweet before and after his side’s 2-1 win away to St Mirren, Lennon railed against the intervention of Cormack, labelling it “embarrassing and disgraceful”, and branding the US-based software entrepreneur a “liar”. Asked if the allegations demanded review by the footballing governing body - Cormack also making reference to Leigh Griffiths “lunging” at Lewis Ferguson’s “keen with two feet in the air”, the Celtic manager was unequivocal. “Yes. I do. It’s totally irresponsible and not factually correct,” Lennon said. “In my view he [Cormack] is telling lies.”
The feud between the clubs has simmered throughout the Christmas week following the Cosgrove dismissal that Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes said resulted in Ajer “grinning and winking” at his opponent as he lay on the ground after dropping dramatically when the forward steamed in with both feet off the ground to knock the ball away from the Norwegian.
Lennon responded to that by saying McInnes should concentrate on his own players, and took a similar hardline over Cormack’s tweet.
Posted at 2am, Cormack wrote; “Law = fairness & consistency. Sam will take his ban but the compliance officer has a duty to review Ajer feigning injury with his triple salvo and miraculous recovery after Sam gets the red. Griffiths lunges into Ferguson’s knee with both feet in the air. Fairness for ALL please!”
Lennon said such claims could not be allowed to go unchallenged. “I’m not happy. It’s embarrassing for him to basically lie about my player’s actions,” he said. “Kris was the victim and did nothing wrong. He’s a model professional, an outstanding professional. For a chairman or owner to come out and say something like that, we’re not tolerating it. We’re not happy about it.
“I wasn’t aware of the timing [of the tweet] . I saw it and it made me very angry because we’ve been very balanced about things. For him to come out and attack one of my players like that...Kris of all people. He’s a model pro. It’s naïve to say the least.”
Lennon was more relaxed about the events at The Simple Digital Arena, where goals from Callum McGregor and James Forrest allowed his team to retain their five-point lead over a Rangers they will host on Sunday in the final game before the winter shutdown. The Celtic manager took particular relish in the display of Odsonne Edouard, whose efforts set up the goals that allowed the Scottish champions to survive a late rally from St Mirren, who netted through a deflected free-kick from Cammy MacPherson.
It was not lost on Lennon that Edouard will ensure Celtic are a different proposition from the team that struggled without him for 59 minutes of the Betfrted Cup final against Steven Gerrard’s men three weeks ago.
“He’s an outstanding centre-forward. I’m pretty much sure he’ll start on Sunday and he makes us better,” Lennon said. “He’s a threat and I like his physicality. I like his pace - he comes to life in the final third and he’s such a clever player. His ball for Jamesy [Forrest] was sublime, the timing and weight was perfect. His all round game is very good and he gives the team a lot of confidence when he plays.”