Celtic Manager Reacts To SFA Sanctions

Neil Lennon was straight back in the spotlight last night with comments over the SFA's decision not to hand out bans to Rangers.

The Celtic boss was handed a four-match ban by the SFA for his touchline spat with Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist at the end of the Hoops' Scottish Cup fifth-round replay win at Parkhead on March 2.

McCoist successfully appealed against the two-match ban he was given and Ibrox players Madjid Bougherra and El-Hadji Diouf escaped with fines and warnings after facing the SFA's disciplinary committee to answer a case of ``misconduct of a significantly serious nature'' during the same game.

Paul McBride QC, who represented Lennon at Hampden and got his suspension effectively reduced to one game because of the way the SFA had misinterpreted their own rules, claimed the ruling body was now the ``laughing stock of world football''.

Lennon treaded carefully when asked about McBride's comments following yesterday's 1-0 win at St Johnstone, saying: ``That is Paul's opinion.

``He is not speaking on behalf of the club or myself but obviously Paul is someone I respect and admire very much and if he is saying that then there might be a lot of other people thinking that as well.''

The Northern Irishman, who watched his side go five points clear of Rangers at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League courtesy of a Beram Kayal goal, asked the media to make up their own mind about the fairness of the SFA's decision.

``It is interesting that out of the fallout of the 'shame game' as people called it, I am the one who got punished and three other people got let off,'' he said.

``Would there have been any point me appealing? No. That's why I didn't appeal.

``I can't comment on a lot of things otherwise I will be back where I was last week (in the stand).

``But if you have any media integrity at all you will call it as it is.

``I will keep my council for another time.''

St Johnstone boss Derek McInnes saw his side finish the game with 10 men after substitute Chris Millar came off with a groin injury after all three replacements had been used.

McInnes is hoping to have the midfielder back for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Motherwell at Hampden on Saturday as well as others who were nursing knocks.

He said: ``We hope Chris is okay. Kevin Moon has a calf injury, Collin Samuel had a bit of stiffness in his hip but he will be fine for Saturday.

``Peter Enckelman had a bit of fluid in his knee but he will be fine as well.

``Steven Anderson was suspended but he will be back for Saturday.

``The only one left out, not exactly rested but because we had options, was Danny Invincibile.

``We tried to be as strong as we possibly could without putting us at risk on Saturday and hopefully we got the balance right and if we get the result at Hampden it will be worth it.''