Referee leaves Lennon baffled

Neil Lennon called for consistency from officials after Celtic were denied a late penalty in their 1-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League defeat by Dundee United at Tannadice.

The Hoops boss is currently serving a three-game touchline ban — with another three-game ban suspended — for running on to the pitch at the end of the Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts at Hampden last month to confront referee Euan Norris, who had awarded the Tynecastle side a controversial penalty.

Norris pointed to the spot on that occasion when a Marius Zaliukas shot debatably hit the arm of Joe Ledley and then brushed against the hand of Victor Wanyama, and Craig Beattie converted to send the Jambos into the final against Hibs.

With Celtic trailing yesterday to a first-half header from United midfielder Scott Robertson, referee Iain Brines ignored the Hoops’ claims for a spot-kick when Emilio Izaguirre’s cross hit the hand of home substitute Keith Watson.

Asked if he thought it should have been a penalty, the Celtic boss replied: “Well, you tell me. What do you want me to do, criticise the referee? I have a three-game ban hanging over me already.

“What is the difference between the penalty given against us in the semi-final and that handball today?”

Lennon also threatened to extend the season for some of his players beyond next week’s final game against Hearts.

“It was a disappointing result and I am annoyed,” he said. “I was not happy with the attitude of some of the players. Some of them are on holiday mode already. They better be [ready for one final push] otherwise they won’t be going on holiday just yet.”

In the day’s other game, Hearts beat St Johnstone 2-0 to climb above their opponents into fifth place and go close to clinching a Europa League place for next season.


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