Lennon: Can of worms now open

Neil Lennon believes the Scottish Football Association is facing a “storm” of similar misconduct charges to the one which left him with a three-match touchline ban.

The Celtic manager attended a disciplinary tribunal at Hampden Park on Thursday for allegedly breaching disciplinary rule 203.

It pertains to the ’failure to behave in a responsible manner as an occupant of the technical area by repeated use of offensive, insulting and abusive language” in a tirade towards St Mirren skipper Jim Goodwin during a match at St Mirren Park on March 31.

The complaint was upheld, with the deletion of the words “repeated” and “insulting and abusive” — and while no sanction was imposed, a suspended three-game ban from last season was triggered.

Lennon claimed the charge was brought up on the behalf of just two complaints, although the SFA have denied that is the case.

Nonetheless, the former Celtic skipper, who will not appeal and thus will sit in the stand for tomorrow’s potential title-winning game at home to Inverness, was far from pleased at his press conference at the club’s Lennoxtown training complex today.

“I will take my three-game ban, that is no problem to me,” he said.

“But what is coming is a storm for the SFA. This has opened up a huge can of worms.

“If you hear a manager swearing, is he going to get brought up?

“I have seen a lot worse. I have seen managers smash dugouts this season and managers squaring up to each other.

“I’m caught on a microphone making a sarcastic comment to a player and I’m sitting here with a three-game ban.

“I sat there for four hours and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was a complete waste of time and effort.

“I can’t go into detail because it is confidential but I saw panel members shaking their head in disbelief and at the end of it they had no sanction. It sums up a lot of things about football in this country; petty, narrow-minded.

“There was a fourth official stood six feet away and didn’t feel I did anything wrong so I still think it is bizarre that on the strength of two complaints, from a game that was televised all around Britain and which maybe had 500,000 people watching, that the SFA decided to take this on.

“Me and my staff, what are we going to do, complain about every manager using foul language from now on?

“You only need two complaints, obviously, before you are hauled up before the SFA so there is going to be a big, big queue of people outside Hampden.”

The Irishman insisted the tribunal was “put in an impossible position” then claimed he was told that SFA compliance officer Vincent Lunny was prompted to take the case on.

He said: “Yes. He was asked to take it on. I am not suggesting anything, I am just going on what I was told.

“He was prompted, no doubt in my mind, to take the case on. Not by the two complainants but by somebody else.

“You don’t bring the case up on the strength of two complaints,” he added.

Lennon, meanwhile, has revealed striker Anthony Stokes has been offered a new deal.

Stokes, who joined the club from Scottish Premier League rivals Hibernian in August 2010, missed five months of the season through injury.

The 24-year-old headed in the winning goal in Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Dundee United, coming off the bench at Hampden to settle a 4-3 thriller in extra time.

It was a fifth goal of the season for the Republic of Ireland international, who found the net on 40 occasions during the previous two campaigns with Celtic.

Capped four times, Stokes has not been selected for his country since he withdrew from the 2011 Nations Cup tournament, citing tiredness.

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