Neil Lennon unlikely to have a case to answer


The SFA are entitled to ask Neil Lennon to explain his conduct at Ibrox on Sunday but I doubt he has a case to answer.  Neil accepted a warning during the first half from fourth official, Iain Brines, for contesting the decision to send off Cha Du-Ri, Brines did not regard this protest as sufficient to call the over referee.  Neil then spoke to referee Calum Murray at the end of the first half without incident or caution.

Murray clearly did not regard Lennon’s comments as worthy of dismissal from the technical area at that time and was did not call Neil to the referees’ room during the interval.  It was left to fourth official Iain Brines to deliver the news to the Celtic manager that he was ordered from the technical area.

Murray and Brines appear to have let the occasion get the better of them.  A referee must be clear in his mind before ordering a manager from the technical area and must take the correct steps necessary in doing so.  He cannot mutter a statement of intent to caution a manager without actually doing so.

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  1. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 on

    Good Morning,



    I am a great believer in any situation in counting to ten. Perhaps even a hundred or even more. In business I was taught a lesson long ago, and it was this: If you receive a letter or have a meeting that leaves you angry and enraged, then by all means write a letter of complaint, vent your spleen, get it off your chest, and then when you sign the letter– simply put it in a drawer and don’t send it! Leave it for a couple of days, come back to it and have a second look. Does it come across as too angry? Does it actually say what you want it to say and could you have been much more subtle and clever in getting your point across in telling the recipient why they are in the wrong?



    I have always found that to be great advice, and with all due respect to Neil Lennon, he needs to learn a lesson such as the one above.



    I say that not because I want to criticise Neil, but because no matter which way you cut it under any circumstances, you have to be up early in the morning to outsmart Rangers Football Club, and you need to box very clever when dealing with a powderkeg situation like Sunday in a climate that gives discretionary power to both referees and later the SFA.



    Heated instant reaction is not what is needed, and a far more subtle and indeed dangerous attitude should be brought to the fore.



    Let’s be clear about a couple of unrelated things before going any further. Rangers were good for their victory on Sunday. They were at the races in terms of tactics, desire and no little amount of skill and drive. We were not. The midfield in particular did not engage with the exception of Brown and I cannot help but wonder why that should be. However, if I were a Rangers fan or indeed a potential investor I would also have questions. Can this be the same group of players who blew a 14 point lead? Can this be a team under the same tactical and impassioned management that can achieve a performance and a result like this– but only once in every ten games? If i am investing in a football team, I will be investing in management that I would hope can motivate players capable of such a performance far more often than has been evident this season.



    However, I digress, because the second “unrelated” statement that I want to make is that from my own personal knowledge I can state honestly that Kenny Clark is a nice guy, and a genuinely decent, individual…….. but….!



    The “But” comes not because there is really any qualification on KC’s personality or integrity.. it is because when I now listen to him on the Radio he genuinely seems permanently angry and annoyed– especially at Neil Lennon. Now, I know that will be denied, but that is just how it seems.



    I have no doubt that he was annoyed– very annoyed– at the time of the refereeing strike and all of the incidents that lead up to that period, when Celtic Football Club did question the integrity of certain officials and processes within the SFA. The argument, from Kenny in particular, was that this is rediculous because if you continue down this line then no one will referee ( why would they ) and that the pressure being deliberately applied to referees by Celtic was well.. scandalous. You will recall very angry programmes on Radio Scotland when the very tone from Kenny McIntyre in the chair determined where the focus and the blame would be directed….. Celtic.



    I don’t think the above is an unfair comment and it is not designed to cause anyone offence. There were journailists and others who were angry at Celtic and they mad that plain– that is all I am saying.



    Last night I listened to Kenny Clark describe the issues in Sunday’s sending off of Cha, Big Vic and NL. Victor’s was a two footed challenge, studs were on show,and in my opinion the referee was correct in his decision to issue a red. Whether Stephen Whittaker should have remained on the park is another issue- as his studs were also on show and his foot was clearly over the ball and came down on Wanyama’s shin. Intent? Wreckless? Mmmmmm you takes your pick. I just wonder what if anything Calun Murray saw of that particular action and it will be interesting to see what is in his report.



    However, it is the other two incidents where there is greatest debate. Cha committed a foul, but was it a sending off? A challenge which was at least as clumsy and had many similarities resulted in no Penalty for Fulham last night. Same scenario, defender the wrong side, little contact, player goes down– but nothing given… and the attacker appeared to be far more clearly through on goal than on Sunday.



    Kenny Clark very properly explained that this was because on Sunday Calum Murray himself had to decide that A it was a foul and that B Cha had deprived Rangers a clear goal scoring opportunity. It is therefore Calum Murray’s personal judgement and discretion that comes under scrutiny, and where you are left with discretion and judgement then of course one referee may see things one way when another may well see things completely differently.



    There are a number of arguments for saying Murray got matters wrong- there are other factors which woukld suggest he got it correct. However, he has to be certain, as I believe before applying the rule that says under certain circumstances a player MUST go, the referee has to be very VERY sure, with no dubiety. It is that last part that may well be hard to fathom.



    What vexes Kenny Clark is that when a referee reaches such a decision, that decision should not be questioned or challenged, and that the referee’s position- whatever he has decided– should be respected etc. He acknowledges the right to appeal, but suggests that he cannot see the grounds of appeal and that there is honestly nothing to complain about. Amazingly, and rather school teacher like, Kenny went on to say last night that Neil Lennon would have been better served speaking to his underperforming Celtic team rather than questioning Calum Murray. Even as a former referee that comment came across as a little vindictive, spoken with a degree of relish, and smacked of an opportunity to fingerwag the naughty Lennon.



    All of what KC said may all be very well in principle, but.. and there is that word again… what happens when you think that there is an argument which supports the conclusion that some refs are…. well lacking in fair minded objectivity at certain points. Or to put it another way, at certain times their integrity is genuinely open to questio?



    Now there will be uproar– angry uproar– at this suggestion, but let’s look at some of the evidence to suggest that just sometimes the men in black have their own agenda which they implement rather than the rules of fair play as we would expect.



    We start of course with “Dougie Dougie”. There the referee coldly and calculatedly engaged in a lie. A lie that was a conspiracy between the referee concerned, and a linesman who raised the issue and who vocally went along with the lie at first, and another linesman who knew all about the lie and who deliberately chose to say nothing whatsoever about it– effectively deciding to do whatever it took to protect his colleagues rather then ensure that the truth was known.



    And that lie was told to Neil Francis Lennon— and the SPL delegate who was with him when Lennon sought permission to approach the referee. The lie was eventually admitted and everyone suffered the consequence– apart from the silent man who maintained an undignified, integrity lacking, silence!



    It is widely known, that Hugh Dallas offered to call off the pending referees strike in return for Stewart Regan agreeing to drop the disciplinary hearing against him surrounding the sectarian e-mail issue. That was confirmed to me by a former grade one ref who was told the story by Dallas’ number two.



    I am not sure what point the referees were trying to make with their strike, but if it was “don’t question the integrity of the man in the middle” then the man at the top sure blew a hole in that argument. Whether the referees as a whole could have been persuaded by Dallas to drop their action had Regan agreed to Dallas’ demands will never be known– but clearly Hugh Dallas thought that the referees stance on Integrity could be…. well bargained with!



    There are many instances of the MIB making decisions which you don’t agree with, or where they have made a mistake, but at the end of the day the ref is human.



    However, it is where a decision is unafathomable, unjustifiable and to be honest calculated to influence the game, or of such significance that the influencing of the game is inevitable, that leads some to the conclusion that all is not right with the idea that the integrity of the referee is not to be questioned.



    I know of at least one former top referee who told a player in the Tunnel before the game that he would be “going off” today. Sure enough, the player who wore the maroon of Hearts, took an early bath!



    This notion of lack of integrity has some very serious evidence to support it, and not for the first time, I will leave the boiling point of Celtic & Rangers alone and highlight the more than curious cases involving Derek Adam.



    For example, Adam was serving a touchline ban at Ross County a number of years ago and as such was not allowed to approach the referee during the game. However, the referee concerned sent a message to Derek Adam saying that he wanted to see him in his room at half time. Adam came to the dressing room, knocked but was apparently told by the referee to leave it till full time. At full Time Adam waited outside the referees changing room and eventually the referee appeared but announced that he was leaving and that he had no time to see Adam. Somewhat Rude behaviour perhaps, but nothing more.



    Consider Adam’s surprise then when he was charged with being in breach of his existing ban by deciding to approach the referee at half time?



    Eventually on appeal, the additional ban that was imposed by the SFA was thrown out– but stop and consider how on earth those circumstances made it to any sort of disciplinary hearing at all? It can only have stemmed from the referee’s report. Not an incident in the heat of the game where an instatnt decision was called for, but a completely different set of circumstances, where there is time to stop and consider and then deliberately make your report.



    When Adam moved to Hibs as assisstant manager, there was a game when he was suddenly sent from the technical area. The staff at Hibs knew that he had a disciplinary “problem” with the SFA which Adam claimed was never of his making, but this incident took all by surprise. In short, nobody could figure out what he had been sent from the technical area for. He had been sitting in the dugout when he was suddenly ordered from the pitch. At the time, he was already appealing various earlier so called disciplinary breaches, and if banned again, then the ban on ban rule meant that he would have been banned for an incredible 18 matches.



    At the disciplinary appeal the official who sent him to the stand said that he could honestly not remember just why he had sent him off but one of the factors was foul and abusive language although there was no note of what the foul and abusive language was. The official concerned admitted that he could not remember what else had occurred and accepted that his report on the matter was poor. When it was put to him that no one else present could remember any such incident there was humming and hawing but when it was also suggested that Derek Adam simply did not say anything and did not use foul and abusive language because he has always chosen personally not to use swear words at all…. then the embarrassing shuffling of feet began in earnest. Not for the first time, an officials report against Derek Adam was thrown out because… well it just didn’t stand up to scrutiny and just didn’t ring true!



    Shortly before he died, I was told that at yet another set of proceedings, the late Paul McBride QC represented Derek Adam at a hearing where he was appealing being sent off—- yet again. The referee concerned was giving evidence about why he had sent Adam to the stand when McBride asked the referee if he would have sent another manager to the stand in the same circumstances? Unbelievably, the referee concerned said “No”!



    In other words, it was to be Derek Adam and Derek Adam alone who this referee wanted to send to the stand. No one else would have been treated that way by his own admission. Whether this, or any of the other officials concerned in the incidents above, have an agenda with Derek Adam is something I will leave for the reader to judge.



    However, what I think is perfectly clear, is that these cases show that the integrity and the quality of the officials judgement in each case must be open to question. Not open to question just because I want it to be, but because the powers that be have a duty to ensure that referees and other officials apply the rules of the game impartially, objectively and with the utmost integrity. Not only MUST the do that but they MUST BE SEEN to do that. The instances above cannot possibly be seen to demonstrate the application of utmost integrity– in fact they point to the very opposite– like it or not!



    To my knowledge, none of the officials in any of the above cases faced any reprimand and all are still officiating. I will be candid and say that I find that very-Very- strange.



    I do not know who reviews the abilities and the conduct of Scottish football officials but there must be a question or two that has to be answered when incidents like those above occur. A referee’s duties go way beyond the 90 minutes and they cannot possibly be correct 100% of the time– and everyone has to remember that.



    It is not a crime to make an error or a mistake, but to instigate and/or perpetuate an injustice is unforgiveable, and where an injustice has been perpetrated there is a duty to speak out and question why it should be allowed to continue, what steps can be taken to reverse it, and how you ensure such an injustice will never be perpetrated again.



    Further, if circumstances exist which have given rise to genuine concern about the integrity of the decision makers, then no one should be surprised when questions are asked in a situation which requires a referee to exercise discretion and then justify it– especially where there is a justifiable alternative interpretation of the facts.



    It would just help matters immeasurably if all concerned were just a little less angry sounding, and stopped to consider a whole course of conduct rather than the events of a single game—– even former referees who have access to the airwaves!

  2. From Garngad to Croy I am Neil Lennon. on

    Hope so Paul67



    Yet again their eagerness to put down ‘Timmy’ has clouded their judgement and made them forget the rules that they put in place !

  3. Well said Paul…



    The Hullabo surrounding all things Lennonish is sickening to behold.



    I can’t wait to see Neil lift that trophy the best medicine of all is Victory..




  4. someone should do alternative highlights of the hun games


    bbc is so HUNrelyable huvnae seen the last min of the game


    mccullochs elbow on brown


    and ledleys pen incident


    as well as whitakers tackle on izzy


    and the numerous tackles on samaras







  5. If Neil is correct in how he described the enbounter in the tunnel, ie he was NOT abusive or threatening ‘no fingers in the face’ as he put it, then if the SFA uphold the charge then Celtic must go the whole way on this one.



    If that means courts etc then lets do that and get these so called impartial officials uder oath and see what they say then. Remind them of what happens is you comit perjury etc.



    I’m sure one of the gang of 5 would chicken out and tell all to save their skin !



    I’m a wee bit pissed off by Neil’s treatment as you can guess ! :)

  6. Well said Paul, absolutely nothing to answer for, unfortunately this is the SFA we’re talking about so I wouldn’t be sure. It’s times like this that you would be wanting Paul McBride to put it up to them. Sadly missed.

  7. BRT&H



    In business I agree, writing a complaint letter and putting it away to the side for a day is of great importance to the complainant. I have done this many times. Fortunately though I am not in a position, when angered, were I am thrust in front of a SKY TV crew and reporter who as we know will not place their digital video in an envelope and place it away for our manager to review and re-record in order that he gets his point across more precisely and with a little more tact. I do not believe that Neil said anything that could be considered ungracious given the IMO obvious bias shown to Rangers by Calum Murray.



    On another note. If you happen to get the chance to research the game take a look at Iain Brines in the first minute of the match as Neil Lennon stands at the edge of his technical area. Once viewed please tell me what you believe was on Mr Brines mind? It certainly was not Tuna.



    I enjoyed the remainder of your post.




  8. Snake Plissken on

    There is no doubt Paul McBride was an incredibly good Lawyer and sadly he has passed on. It looks like this may or may not have some link to this return of open season.



    That being said there are other equally good Lawyers out there and Celtic should be ready with one and get these officials on the stand and the Rangers staff who according to Sunsport understands (that well known source) and we’ll see if they’ll continue with their charade.



    I believe Neil Lennon and the reason I do is the fact that he was able to do a team talk and then was informed he couldn’t go back out.



    This means the officials who did not send him off for his behaviour during the first half and who also did not send him off when he spoke to Callum Murray waited 10 minutes and decided to do it. They spoke together for ten minutes and came to an understanding and as far as I am aware they cannot do that.



    This looks like Dougie Dougie 2 and I hope the club takes them all the way.



    The Fall of the Berlin Wall was never as mental as this.



    New Alex Thomson Tweets about Regan, Ogilvie and the UEFA licence BTW

  9. Thommo up and running on Twitter today,



    alex thomson ‏ @alextomo Reply Retweet Favorite · Open


    Hope to get extracts of our Stewart Regan SFS interview later today…



    alex thomson ‏ @alextomo Reply Retweet Favorite · Open


    On Campbell Ogilvie who SR says is “heavily conflicted” yet has not temporarily stood aside…



    alex thomson ‏ @alextomo Reply Retweet Favorite · Open


    On. Why he sees no need to “apologise” to RFC or other fans – or “pander to the masses”…



    alex thomson ‏ @alextomo Reply Retweet Favorite · Open


    And why RFC got a UEFA licence last season despite owing the taxman a lot of our money



    Tweet tweet went the Big House Birdie…

  10. I admire your optimism Paul67 but I fully expect another vindictive punishment from the SFA; just look at how our Neil is being shamefully vilified in the press today, they have pronounced him guilty without even knowing what he allegedly said and despite denials from Neil Lennon that he used any abusive language.



    It truly is shocking how skewed the application of the rules are, the likes of Butcher, Brown, McCall et al are allowed to rant about refs with little or no punishment yet Neil does it and its apparently “a public order issue”.



    I tell you what, I will love it, absolutely love it keegan style when we do win this league and Neil lifts that trophy, ram it right up the lot of them. Preferably this week if McCall’s team has the nerve to put in a tackle, never mind score against Rangers on Saturday though I can wait; it’ll be good for the team I think to be back in familiar surroundings on Sunday.

  11. Without wanting to sound silly/paranoid/James Bond like Celtic should have put a secret camera on Lenny on Sunday and should do so when/if we play them again this season. People may laugh but I cannot see why it could not be done and I believe it has come to this. A camera on Sunday would quickly expose a lot of SFA lies.

  12. Morning all,



    My two players of the year would be



    Charlie and Sammi



    If given the chance of choosing 3, my third would be Joe



    Hail Hail

  13. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Snake Plissken I agree with your post we will miss Paul McBride but I suggested last night Brian Murphy the Sheriff in Kilmarnock he is Celtic minded and very very clever. H.H.

  14. If ole Winston Churchill had still been here, – he’d be on twitter saying,



    Never has so much been spoken by so many, in so few characters.



    Win with Winnie CSC

  15. Sandman Is Neil Lennon on

    Sandman Is Neil Lennon on 27 March, 2012 at 13:00 said:



    Let me tell you this:



    Be beguiled not by flammery, semantics and ‘dignity’.



    The only thing they find objectionable about Neil Francis Lennon is that he ‘does not know his place’.



    And neither do we. And that upsets them no end.



    Nothing enrages the subservient like ambition in others.

  16. Paul67



    Good article. I am also pretty sure Celtics legal team will use the photograph of Brines adopting an agressive stance by poking his finger in Lennys chest, as further evidence against the Ibrox 2

  17. POTY


    No.1 – Charlie Mulgrew


    No.2 – Joe Ledley



    Most improved – Fraser Forster

  18. Ledley has been very poor for me in recent weeks. He also seems very slow on the ball. I was shocked how slow and ineffective he was in the LC Final.

  19. I hope we play as we can on Sunday if we do the result will take care of itself,of that I have no doubt high tempo committed and above all TAKE OUR CHANCES

  20. POTY



    1st Samaras – pure class act


    2nd Brown – Tireless effort, even when playing with an injury.

  21. @savo01 – true Ledley has gone off form the last 2 games but his overall contribution has been excellent, wee James would’ve got in there too but just a wee bit too inconsistent, although excellent player.

  22. The Honest Mistake loves being first on



    And where do we go from here?


    Yet another case of referees abusing their positions, breaking from protocol in order to settle an old score with Neil Lennon.

  23. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Kano 1000 on 27 March, 2012 at 12:23 said:




    Great post mate. I can also confirm a story Kenny Clarke told as an after dinner speaker a few years ago.


    He was talking about an old firm game where big John Harrison, Johan Mjallby and I think Klose were all sent off for a fight in the goal mouth.


    Harrison appealed the decision and won.


    A couple of weeks later Celtic were playing hearts. Clarke walks into the Celtic dressing room before kick off to have a word with the player, good clean game etc, when big John says you got the red card wrong the last time ref.


    Later in the game, Clarkes own words were Hartson was scythed down in the box and he waved play on. When Hartson asked him why he didn’t give the penalty he replied, you know I’m prone to mistakes John.


    Anyway, the message here is that referees have no integrity. Make as many mistakes as you like with no punishment but take the nip if anyone questions your ability.

  24. POTY – Mulgrew or Ledley, our two most consistent performers over the full season



    YPOTY – Forrest or Wanyama

  25. Savo good point re cameras. I remember auld Tony Benn had to record everything he said as it was reported in a twisted manner during the Thatcher years.





    I like your posts but “tell me what you believe was on Brines mind”. Come on man.


    That is where the sly, sleekit underhand bassas get off scot free every time.


    You cannot go with an argument that is based on what you believe they may be thinking.


    That is why the refs get away with their anti Celtic bias for years! There is no way to prove what we “believe they are thinking/doing” and the bassas know it.


    You know it , I know it, lived it for 50 odd years but only when we have absolute proof can we go at it.



    Hopefully some of that proof is going to be revealed shortly with the Taxcase and dual contracts etc.







  26. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Is there a link to the picture of Brines acting aggresivley to Neil Lennon ? H.H.

  27. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    hendrix67 on 27 March, 2012 at 13:08 said:


    Big bad John Harrison?

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