Celtic boss unhappy over SFA naming of panel

Celtic boss unhappy over SFA naming of panel

Neil Lennon believes it is “grossly unfair” that the Scottish Football Association have named the three-man panel who are to hear Rangers’ appeal against SFA sanctions next Wednesday.

The administration-hit Ibrox club were fined £160,000 and handed a 12-month transfer embargo by an SFA judicial panel last month after being found guilty of five charges in relation to their financial affairs and appointment of Craig Whyte as chairman.

The SFA decided to name Lord Carloway, former Partick Thistle chairman Allan Cowan and Spartans chairman Craig Graham after consultation with the police.

The three members of the original judicial panel received security advice from police following reports of threats.

Ahead of Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Hearts at Celtic Park, the Hoops boss expressed surprise that the panel had been named and then said: “I think it is grossly unfair.

“These people do it voluntarily, they do it because they love the game, and do it for the right reasons.

“I don’t think there is any need but there you go, that’s the decision the SFA have made, so you need to go and ask them why they have done that.

“I just think it puts extra pressure on these people and they are under enough pressure as it is.”

The Northern Irishman stepped back from delving too deeply into the problems at the ailing Govan club whose bid for survival continues.

The prospect of Rangers retaining their place in the SPL as a ’newco’ in the event of liquidation is just one of several scenarios that has engaged Scottish football in debate in recent months.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell issued a vague statement earlier in the week noting that the Parkhead club were monitoring the overall situation in Scottish football.

Lennon was just as reticent but hinted at strong views to come.

“It’s too early for me to make any comment on that,” he said.

“We as a club are watching that situation very closely and when the time comes we will have our say on that but I think it is far too early to come out and make any sort of controversial statements, particularly myself.”

However, the former Celtic skipper made it clear that whatever happens to their Old Firm rivals will not have any impact on his plans for next season.

“We have our own strategy,” he said.

“My backroom staff and I had a meeting with Peter about that, he showed us how he was moving the club forward and regardless of how strong or how weak Rangers are, it will not change our mindset on that.”

Part of his plans is the recruitment of three or four players, while pruning his squad which he joked was “about 573” strong.

One player who no longer figures in Lennon’s plans is Poland striker Pawel Brozek, who has returned to Trabzonspor following his unsuccessful loan spell at Celtic complaining about his lack of game time.

“We took a chance with him,” said Lennon.

“I thought he had plenty of opportunity to show us that he was ready to play but he always looked to me to be a little bit short.

“I wish him well and I can understand his frustration but at the same time I had a championship to win and games to win and I couldn’t wait for Pawel, at that stage he needed to work a little bit harder on the physical side of the game.”

Skipper Scott Brown, meanwhile, cannot wait to get his hands on the SPL trophy on Sunday.

“It’s has been a long time since we won the game at Kilmarnock (April 7).

“It was sad that we didn’t get the trophy then but it’s probably better that we are going to get it at Celtic Park in front of 60,000 fans.

“It’s been four years since we managed to bring the trophy home, some of the lads are winning their first trophy so hopefully it will be a good memory for them.”

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