Neil Lennon vows to '˜vigorously' challenge five-match ban
Neil Lennon has vowed to 'vigorously' challenge his five-match UEFA ban after being shocked by the European governing body's charge.
The Hibernian manager was handed the additional suspension on top of the automatic one-match touchline ban he served after being sent to the stand during his team’s 1-0 defeat by Brondby at Easter Road last month.
Lennon had protested towards the assistant referee from his dugout following a disallowed goal before being dismissed by Spanish official Juan Martinez Munuera. But the UEFA charge read “acts of violence against the referee”.
The former Celtic and Bolton boss said: “What is that? I didn’t have any harsh words with the referee at all. The only person I was upset about was the linesman.
“I was incredulous he was sending me off for something I found so futile really. So I am surprised. I haven’t seen the reports yet but I will defend it.”
Lennon, whose team exited the Europa League on penalties in Denmark, added: “I knew about it a week ago before it became public and my reaction to it, as it is now, is that it’s pretty excessive to say the least.
“The term ‘act of violence towards the referee’ was just simply not there. So we put a submission in, it seems to have been ignored. So we will go there and appeal it as best we can. I don’t know know what the protocol is but I am going to appeal it vigorously.”
Lennon’s immediate concern is Saturday’s Ladbrokes Championship opener at Falkirk, and the former Parkhead skipper is looking forward to getting his teeth into the division.
“I don’t know the league very well,” the 45-year-old said. “I know Scottish football well enough so I have a fair idea of the competition and the quality of the teams and the environment, and the managers.
“But it’s still my debut myself and I will not really get a feel of the team until three or four games into the season.
“But we are there to be shot at, we are the favourites, but we will embrace that tag and hopefully prove the bookies right.”
Hibs are unlikely to field new signing Ofir Marciano, with the on-loan Israel goalkeeper still waiting for a work permit, and supporters will have to wait for further additions.
Lennon, who has been linked with St Mirren midfielder Stephen Mallan and Ross County striker Brian Graham, said: “There is nothing in the offing. I know there is speculation but I can’t comment on that, but we are working on bringing maybe two more in.”
Lennon previously made a move for Celtic midfielder Liam Henderson, who spent last season on loan at Easter Road.
“We will wait to hear if the player is available and if we can attract him to come and play for us again, but at the minute Celtic are keeping their squad together, which is understandable because they have some big games to overcome in the qualifiers,” he said.