Hibs boss Neil Lennon wants referees to explain decisions

Neil Lennon believes the general standard of refereeing this season has been 'pretty good'. Picture: SNS.
Neil Lennon believes the general standard of refereeing this season has been 'pretty good'. Picture: SNS.
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Neil Lennon believes referees should be allowed to explain controversial decisions – but only after a “cooling off” period.

The Easter Road head coach was speaking at the end of a week in which top officials Craig Thomson – who will be in charge of today’s match between Partick Thistle and Hibs at Firhill – and Willie Collum came under fire for awarding Celtic hotly-disputed penalties, while he himself lambasted Don Robertson following the Edinburgh club’s match against Hamilton.

However, despite the fall-out from last weekend’s Betfred Cup final and Motherwell again being on the disputed end of a spot-kick call when they met Celtic again in the league in midweek, Lennon claimed the standard of refereeing in Scotland has been “pretty good” in the main.

High-profile incidents, he insisted, will always be highlighted, particularly if the referee is believed to have got it wrong, but Lennon feels in such instances the official should be able to give his side of the story.

He said: “I don’t buy into referees coming out after a game and giving answers on decisions straight away with the camera in his face. That’s not right.

“But maybe if the public or people are looking for clarification the referees’ association could, a couple of days later, put out the ref’s position once his report has gone in and he’s had time to look at it himself and dissect it.”

Adamant he was seeking to look after the welfare of his players as Robertson showed five Accies players the yellow card in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Hamilton, Lennon said: “Last week I was talking about the consistency. I thought more protection could have been afforded to my players.

“I made comments about the treatment John McGinn is receiving because I am concerned. Not just tackles, barges in the back, swipes at him. Consider the last-minute tackle against Hearts, it was a really bad tackle. There were bad ones on him at Motherwell.

“I voiced my concerns then and we had won, so it’s not sour grapes. I am looking after the welfare of my players, not just John. I thought there was a recklessness about Hamilton’s approach, particularly in the second half, and nothing has changed my mind.

“But in the whole, I think it has been decent. In the main it’s been pretty good from what I have seen. In one or two out of 12 or 13 I have mentioned a referee’s performance. If it is going to be like that for the rest of the season, good.”

Meanwhile, Ryan Edwards admits Australia’s World Cup success has given him even more motivation to perform for Partick Thistle.

Australia sealed their place in Russia last month and have now been drawn to face France, Peru and Denmark in the group stages during next summer’s finals.

Edwards, left, has played for Australia’s Under-23 team and has been included in a provisional squad for the full team without making the final cut.

Ange Postecoglou quit as head coach after leading Australia through the qualification process and Edwards is watching with interest as a successor is sought.

The midfielder said: “I love playing football and I always have motivation to play and do well. Having previously played for the youth team, the 20s and 23s national team, now they have qualified for the World Cup it gives me that little bit more extra incentive to try and get in the team.

“There’s still six or seven months to go so I will keep trying to be consistent and doing well for Thistle and hopefully the next manager recognises that. If not, it’s going to be great because it’s in Europe.

“If I’m in the team, brilliant, and if not I will probably be going to Russia and supporting the boys anyway.”

The 24-year-old added: “I know the previous manager was watching me. Maybe the new guy will know nothing about me or will want to experiment with different players.

“I like setting targets and goals and I know the next international break will be in March where we will have friendly games. There are two or three opportunities to try and get in the team.”