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Snow gifts Neil Lennon an Old Firm reprieve

Neil Lennon will be in the Celtic dugout for the Old Firm derby against Rangers at Ibrox on January 2 after another Scottish Football Association hearing was postponed due to adverse weather conditions.

The SFA's disciplinary committee were due to meet at Hampden on Monday to discuss the Celtic boss's appeal against an automatic two-match ban for being sent to the stand by referee Craig Thomson during the defeat against Hearts on November 10.

An “excessive misconduct” charge for his reaction to a rejected penalty claim and subsequent dismissal were also to be discussed but, had the automatic ban been upheld, former Northern Ireland captain Lennon would have had to watch from the stand for the home game against Motherwell on January 29 and the New Year trip to Ibrox.

However, heavy snow has led to the meeting being cancelled, leaving Lennon to fully carry out his managerial duties for the time being.

Lurgan-born Lennon confirmed the SFA had written to him with regards his excessive misconduct charge.

The former Hoops skipper added: “I don't want to comment too much on the ins and outs of what goes on at the SFA at the minute, I might have more to say after Monday.

“It's all new to me. When you get yourself in a bit of trouble you get letters coming in from different committees, it can be a bit confusing sometimes but I'm certainly learning as I go along.”

However, Lennon has other worries for the Celtic's trip to Ibrox.

He confirmed that Shaun Maloney will be out for up to four months after undergoing ankle surgery while defender Glenn Loovens is out for a month for a knee problem.

In addition, the Parkhead club could be without their two South Korea internationals, Ki Sung-yueng and Cha Du-ri, who have been called up by their country to take part in the Asian Cup, which begins in January.

More immediately, Celtic have the chance to go top of the league with a win at Hamilton this afternoon.

“It is an important period for us,” Lennon said.

“Of all the teams we have played this season, they have caused us the most problems, particularly early on in the game at Parkhead, when we had to rely on the goalkeeper to make some very good saves.

“Previous encounters at Hamilton they have always been cagey affairs and this will be no different.”

Belfast Telegraph


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