St Gallen 0 - 0 Celtic: Lennon worried Simunovic red card may affect Euro availability

Neil Lennon hopes the sending-off of Jozo Simunovic in Switzerland last night will not have repercussions for Celtic’s Champions League campaign .

Jozo Simunovic was sent off against St Gallen. Picture: SNS.
Jozo Simunovic was sent off against St Gallen. Picture: SNS.

The friendly against St Gallen represented the first time that a Scottish team had played with VAR in operation and the controversial system helped helped the Premiership champions get a penalty for handball midway through the first half. However, striker Odsonne Edouard saw his spot kick saved by Dejan Stojanovic.

In the 76th minute, VAR also led referee Fedayi San to turn a yellow card into a red card for Simunovic for a high boot on Boris Babic. The dismissal left Lennon - with one eye on his club’s first-leg qualifier against FK Sarajevo in Bosnia next Tuesday night - being concerned by the possible consequences.

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The Celtic manager, whose side were looking to make it three friendly wins from three following the 6-1 victory over Pinkafeld and the 2-1 win against Wiener SC, told the club’s media channels: “It was a real step up in quality and tempo of the game and I am really pleased we came through it unscathed, although obviously the sending off is a sore one and we will have to see the outcome of that.

“I don’t know what the rules are,” he continued. “It might have to come down to the referee’s report and if that is sent to the SFA, so we have to see what the outcome of that will be.

“It is the first thing I asked the staff when it happened, if he would be eligible for next week. We will just have to wait and see - hopefully he will be okay.

“We had good chances to win the game. We ran out of steam towards the end a bit, but that is totally understandable.”

Earlier in the day, a strong Celtic XI hammered St Gallen Under-21s 9-1 in a behind-closed-doors friendly.

Striker Leigh Griffiths scored four, with 16-year-old Karamoko Dembele grabbing his first senior goal.

Scott Sinclair netted a double, while Ewan Henderson and Lewis Morgan were the other two names on the scoresheet.