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Fuming Lennon left to stew by SFA

By Ronnie Esplin

Neil Lennon is unlikely to find out the ramifications of his latest referee bust-up until next week due to a backlog of cases at the Scottish Football Association.

The Celtic boss, with three disciplinary cases pending, two of which will be heard by the SFA's judiciary panel on Thursday, is in trouble again after Sunday's confrontation with referee Euan Norris in the aftermath of his side's 2-1 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Hearts at Hampden.

Lennon was livid that Norris had awarded Hearts a controversial last-gasp penalty when a shot from Jambos skipper Marius Zaliukas hit the arm of Joe Ledley before brushing the hand of Victor Wanyama. And he was further enraged when the official refused Celtic a spot-kick of their own in injury time when the ball appeared to come off the arm of Hearts defender Andy Webster.

The Northern Irishman is likely be in more trouble after a comment made on his Twitter account after the match.

Lennon tweeted: “Referee told players he thought (Victor) Wanyama handled...feel so sorry for players and fans..I think it's personal myself.”

He left himself open to further — and perhaps more serious — sanctions when he later re-tweeted a comment from Celtic supporter @DazDiCanio which suggested the club: “pack our bags and get out of this league that is run by crooked £SFA officials.”

Lennon will have to wait until the SFA's compliance officer, Vince Lunny, reviews Norris' report, which is likely also to include the discussion the official had with Lennon in the referee's room after the game, along with television footage and the former Celtic skipper's social network comments.

That will be put on the backburner until the SFA's judiciary panel first deals with Rangers and owner Craig Whyte and two of Lennon's current cases.

The SFA have charged the administration-hit Ibrox club and Whyte with seven rule breache and that case is set to be heard today, Wednesday and Friday.

The Govan club is charged with five offences, including failing to abide by SFA regulations over the ‘fit and proper person's test’ and Whyte, ruled unfit by the SFA to be a club official, with two more.

Lennon will appear before the judicial panel on Thursday where he will contest two charges relating to criticism of referee Willie Collum after the Scottish League Cup final defeat to Kilmarnock and his half-time dismissal by referee Calum Murray during the recent 3-2 SPL defeat by Old Firm rivals Rangers at Ibrox.

Despite Hearts setting up a Scottish Cup final meeting with Edinburgh rivals Hibernian for the first time since 1896, Lennon's post-match behaviour has captured much of the spotlight.

Hugh Dallas believes the Celtic manager went too too far to “bully” Norris.

Dallas, formerly head of referee development at the Scottish Football Association before leaving his position following controversy over what was considered an offensive e-mail, reckons Lennon's behaviour did little for the reputation of the game in Scotland.

“I can't remember in 25 years of refereeing seeing a manager run that far onto a pitch to bully a referee,” said Dallas.

“These pictures are going around the world and it is not good.”

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