Rangers v Celtic: Lennon blasts ‘campaign’ jibe by Smith over Celts’ ‘lack of penalty kicks’
Neil Lennon has described as “nonsense” claims by Rangers boss Walter Smith that a campaign based on claiming for decisions and penalties led to Celtic's spot kick award at Ibrox today.
There were less than 10 minutes remaining when Hoops substitute Anthony Stokes, on for Gary Hooper, was adjudged by referee Craig Thomson to have been fouled by Light Blues' midfielder Steven Davis inside the box.
Allan McGregor made a great save from Georgios Samaras to keep the game goalless and Rangers a point clear at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, although the title pendulum seems to have swung towards the east end of Glasgow as Celtic have a game in hand.
However, the Celtic boss was short and sharp when told what his Ibrox counterpart had said.
“It is nonsense,” he said. “Absolute nonsense.
“Have they not had penalties against us this season, one where the referee wasn't even looking at it? Eh?
“Where is his argument there?
“It looked a penalty to me.
“People are telling me it is soft but I think the one with (Joe) Ledley in the first half could have been one, and the second one with (Anthony) Stokes, they are telling me there was contact although he did go down a bit dramatically.”
Lennon admitted he had enough of Old Firm games this season — this was the seventh meeting between the Glasgow giants — but was reluctant to claim his side now had the advantage in the title race.
“I am glad the Old Firm scenario is out of the way and we don't have to go through all the hype that surrounds it,” he said.
“That's seven, plenty for one season.
“So on the balance of the seven games we have proved we are more than a match for Rangers, if not better, whether they go on to win the league or not.
“People called this a pivotal game but I didn't see it that way
“It gave us a slight advantage going into the remaining five games, one of which is the game in hand which we need to get a positive result from.
“I was apprehensive about the game but I was very pleased with my team. I am very proud of them.”