Celtic boss Lennon sees red in defence of poor Aberdeen
Aberdeen 0 Celtic 4: Celtic manager Neil Lennon called for a change to the rules which saw Aberdeen reduced to 10 men when defender Andrew Considine was sent off in the first half of their 4-0 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by the Hoops at Hampden Park.
The Dons had shipped 17 goals in their previous four games against Celtic this season and chances of a shock win all but went out of the window in the 18th minute when Considine was red-carded by referee William Collum for fouling Gary Hooper in the box.
Although Jamie Langfield saved Anthony Stokes' penalty, Craig Brown's side succumbed in the second half as goals from Charlie Mulgrew, Joe Ledley, Kris Commons, with a spot-kick, and substitute Shaun Maloney set up a meeting with Motherwell in the May 21 final.
The Celtic boss accepted that Considine's dismissal had handed his side a huge advantage.
“Psychologically for Aberdeen it was damaging,” said Lennon. “But I do think it was a penalty and in the interpretation of the laws of the game, the referee probably had no choice but to send him off.
“I think it is one rule that could be doing with being looked at.
“If someone makes a genuine attempt to get the ball and is beaten, then maybe a penalty and a yellow card is punishment enough.
“There are cases where people are going through and are deliberately brought down and that is a different scenario altogether.
“But if someone has made a genuine attempt and is beaten by a bit of pace, I think that needs looking at.”
Coincidentally, Langfield had saved a Stokes penalty after Considine had been sent off in the second minute when the two sides met at Pittodrie in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at the start of February.
Dons manager Craig Brown revealed his defender was “distraught” as he agreed in principle with Lurgan born Lennon.
“I think a lot of managers would like to see 11 versus 11 where possible,” said the former Scotland boss.
“Certainly the penalty alone is a harsh punishment but not only do we lose the player for that game, we lose him for another game, for that one challenge. It's pretty harsh.
“And the same player was sent off in two minutes at Pittodrie against Celtic which left us a man short again.
“I think it is a harsh rule but that is the law of the game and we have to abide with it. I don't know whether Hooper was certain to score and if he wasn't then we could feel aggrieved.
“But I have very good respect for Willie Collum so we have to accept the decision. However, it made it an uphill task for us.
“To play against the best passing team in the country a man short is very difficult.
“But you have to concede that Celtic were the better side.”
Hoops boss Lennon insists he will now immediately turn his attention to the SPL title race where their battle with Old Firm rivals Rangers looks to be going all the way to the end of the season.
The champions could be four points clear of Celtic by the time the Hoops travel to Kilmarnock on Wednesday night.
“We have something to look forward to at the end of the season but the main priority is the championship,” he said.
“We have a big week now, Kilmarnock on Wednesday and obviously we are at Ibrox on Sunday.”