Neil Lennon’s waiting for Dougie McDonald’s apology
Neil Lennon revealed that Dougie McDonald has telephoned him — but claims he has still to receive an apology from the controversial referee.
McDonald admitted lying to the Hoops boss after reversing a penalty award in Celtic's Clydesdale Bank Premier League win over Dundee United at Tannadice in October.
After an investigation into the incident by new Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan, the case was passed on to the referee's committee who handed the official a warning but allowed him to continue with his career.
Lennon claimed that out of “professional respect” he expected an apology from McDonald who came under further pressure when Parkhead chairman John Reid called for the SFA to sack the official if he did not resign.
McDonald did call Lennon over a week ago, on the day of the game against Hearts at Tynecastle when the Irishman was sent to the stand by referee Craig Thomson for complaining to the fourth official after Celtic had a penalty claim turned down.
Asked if he had received an apology from the referee, Lennon replied: “No, he called me and left a message.
“Ironically, it was the day of the Hearts game. There has been no contact since. I don't know (if he will call me back), he just left a message.”
While Reid made sure that the club’s on-going spat with the SFA continued by pressurising them to get rid of McDonald, the former Celtic skipper insists he is not unduly troubled by all the fuss.
“That's not my problem,” he said. “I am cracking on with things. I have had a good week’s training with the players and I am looking forward to the game tomorrow. The other stuff will take care of itself eventually.”
Lennon is preparing his side for the visit of United today (3pm) which is sure to revive memories of the controversial match between the sides on Tayside last month. The Ulsterman though denied there was a problem between United boss Peter Hous
ton and himself.
After his side lost to a late Gary Hooper goal in their last meeting, the Scotland assistant manager had a swipe at Lennon for his enthusiastic celebrations, saying: “Celtic backroom staff celebrated as if they had won the league. I'm going to start running 30 yards down the track when we score a goal. Celtic seem to get away with it.” And near the end of last season, after Celtic had won 2-0 at Tannadice, Houston rebutted the Celtic manager’s claim after the game that only his team had tried to play football.
However, Lennon denied there was anything between the two men. “Not that I know of,” he said.
“Emotions run high immediately after games and we all do and say things that maybe we shouldn’t.”