CELTIC boss Neil Lennon has hit back at Aberdeen gaffer Derek McInnes in the ongoing Sam Cosgrove red-card rumpus.
The Pittodrie chief accused Kristoffer Ajer of “winking and laughing” as the Dons striker was sent off for a wild lunge in the visirors’ 2-1 defeat at Parkhead at the weekend.
However, Lennon insisted the Hoops’ Norwegian international defender escaped serious injury following the wayward challenge.
Referee Euan Anderson did not hesitate to dismiss the towering Englishman who took a rush of blood to the head as he threw himself into a tackle on the centre-half only minutes after Odsonne Edouard had scored the eventual winner.
Reacting to the comments of McInnes, Lennon, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “I’m not convinced about that at all. Kris isn’t like that. At the end of the day, he’s on the receiving end of a very heavy tackle.
“Whether he’s winking or not is irrelevant and I have no evidence he did do that. Derek should be concentrating on his own player and I’ll concentrate on mine.
”He (Cosgrove) got plenty of the ball, but he’s off the ground and he’s caught Kris on the follow-through. So I can see now why the referee did give it.
“He may have seen the challenge coming and sort of skipped out of it, but he has left the ground. It’s definitely excessive force.
“I thought at the time it was full-blooded. I think there was intent there because he didn’t need to make the challenge. I think he was trying to put a marker down for some reason. I don’t know why.
“I don’t know if there was frustration there with Kris making a great tackle on Jon Gallagher. There is no real need to make a challenge like that. He could have just shied Kris into the corner.
“So I can see now why the referee did give it. Ten years ago, you’d have been delighted with a challenge like that, but you’d have to ask him the reason why he’s making a challenge like that there because it was totally unnecessary.
“He could have put a block on it, he’s on his left foot, he’s not going anywhere. At the end of the day, what do you want to get out of it? Tackling like that?
“I understand him making a challenge, but it’s just the way he made it and it wasn’t that type of game, either. It was feisty, but it wasn’t over physical. It was totally out of context for the game.”
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