SFA disciplinary process is '˜confusing' says Hibs boss Neil Lennon

Hibs boss Neil Lennon expressed sympathy with his fellow managers after the Scottish Football Association's disciplinary process and red card criteria came in for further criticism.

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke will fight a charge of bringing the game into disrepute after attacking the governing body for their refusal to overturn Gary Dicker’s controversial red card for a tackle on Hearts’ Callumn Morrison.

Aberdeen remain furious that disciplinary chiefs refused to overturn the red card shown to Michael Devlin for a ‘last-man’ tug on Kilmarnock striker Eamonn Brophy, and released a statement which described the explanation provided by the SFA in relation to Devlin’s unsuccessful appeal as “unacceptable.”

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Ahead of the home clash with Kilmarnock on Saturday, Lennon said: “I understand Steve’s frustration. I understand Aberdeen’s frustration, looking at the two incidents.

Hibs boss Neil Lennon has backed his fellow managers. Picture: SNS GroupHibs boss Neil Lennon has backed his fellow managers. Picture: SNS Group
Hibs boss Neil Lennon has backed his fellow managers. Picture: SNS Group

“I don’t think Gary Dicker’s was a red card and I am not sure Devlin’s was either. Did Gary use excessive force in the tackle? I am not so sure.

“I thought it was a decent tackle and the Devlin one, probably a yellow card.”

There was more controversy recently when a panel of three former referees decided that there was no case for Rangers keeper Allan McGregor to answer after his kick out at Hoops defender Kristoffer Ajer during the Old Firm game at Parkhead.

Gers striker Alfredo Morelos was sent off at Pittodrie on the opening weekend for kicking Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna but that was later reduced to a yellow after a successful appeal.

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The following weekend Hearts striker Steven Naismith avoided retrospective disciplinary action after kicking out at Celtic winger Jonny Hayes.

Lennon understands the criteria by which the former two cases were judged but believes that should be made clear to supporters.

“We had a meeting with referees and we were told if it was more petulance and not excessive force then you can’t deem that a red card,” said the Northern Irishman, who started the campaign with a three-game touchline ban for his ‘aeroplane celebration’ on the final day of last season against Rangers.

“That’s what I took from that meeting. It was petulance from McGregor and maybe a little bit of petulance from Morelos as well.

“I think that has to be made clear to the public. I was satisfied (with the explanation) at the time but when you see what has happened since then there is confusion among the managers.

“And I sympathise with Steve and Derek (McInnes, Aberdeen boss) in both these instances.

“In terms of consistency and people look at it and you don’t seem to get the same answers in different cases.

“So I think there is a bit of confusion there and that is understandable.”