Neil Lennon slams referee John Beaton for ‘failing to protect his players’

Blair Alston received a yellow card for this foul on John McGinn, but Neil Lennon felt it warranted a red. Picture: SNS Group
Blair Alston received a yellow card for this foul on John McGinn, but Neil Lennon felt it warranted a red. Picture: SNS Group
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Hibs manager Neil Lennon, already consigned to the stand as he serves a three-match touchline ban, risked running into more disciplinary trouble last night after accusing referee John Beaton of failing to protect his players.

Hibs failed to take the chance to move up to third after being held to a 1-1 draw by St Johnstone.

But Lennon praised his side, who were reduced to ten men as early as the 14 th minute after goalkeeper Ofir Marciano was sent off for handling the ball outside the box.

Lennon accepted this decision but was furious about a cynical challenge from Blair Alston on John McGinn in the second-half.

Alston was booked but Lennon contended he should have been sent off, particularly since he then committed another foul before being substituted by manager Tommy Wright.

“It’s a good job I was in the stand tonight because I don’t understand how St Johnstone ended the game with 11 men,” said Lennon.

Furious: Hibs boss Neil Lennon. Picture: SNS Group

Furious: Hibs boss Neil Lennon. Picture: SNS Group

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“I get our red card was a red – it was the right decision, I have no argument with that.

“Some of the challenges on my players in the second half were shocking. Disgraceful tackles. We did not get enough protection.

“Alston’s is a red card all day long. There was no attempt to play the ball other than be reckless and endanger John’s well-being.

“It was horrific,” added Lennon. “He [Beaton] was right there looking at it.

“He [Beaton] told my captain he [Alston] was on one more and he brings John down again and stays on the pitch.

I have only praise for my players, who were amazing tonight. We rode our luck at time. Cammy [Bell] came on and was sensational. It was a tremendous point.”

Bell, who joined Hibs in January on a short-term deal, was making his first top-team appearance of the season. The goalkeeper replaced Marciano, with Jamie Maclaren sacrificed.

Bell is now in line to replace the suspended Marciano against Partick Thistle after the international break.

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright was satisfied with the draw although he saw Bell tip Scott Tanser’s free-kick onto the bar in the dying moments.

“I think we deserved the point in the end,’” he said. “It was a difficult start and it was a poor goal to give away.

“I thought Hibs defended well and looked a threat at times on the counter. In the end we go 2-4-4 just to try and get back into the game.

“We had more chances and on that basis you think you should win but you have to give the opposition, and in particular the goalkeeper, a lot of credit.”