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Celtic accept Lennon punishment

By Gavin McCafferty and Ronnie Esplin

Celtic declared themselves satisfied with Neil Lennon's Scottish Football Association hearing after the Parkhead manager was served with a two-match ban.

Lennon was given the touchline ban - which will see him sit in the stand against Motherwell and Rangers in the next 10 days - for criticising referee Willie Collum following the Scottish Communities League Cup final on March 18.

But the former Celtic midfielder was given no additional punishment over his dismissal from the dugout against Rangers at Ibrox the following weekend.

The Northern Irishman accused Collum of a "criminal" decision not to award Celtic a late penalty in their 1-0 defeat by Kilmarnock at Hampden and Lennon was punished for "making comments in an interview which criticise the performance of a match official in such a way as to indicate bias or incompetence".

But, for being sent from the technical area at half-time in a 3-2 defeat by Rangers, the SFA said "the tribunal imposed no further sanction on the basis that the half-game served outwith the technical area was sufficient".

Lennon is understood to have accepted a misconduct charge relating to dissent and adopting an aggressive attitude towards a match official after clashing with fourth official Iain Brines.

However, it is understood the panel did not pursue accusations of insulting and abusive language over Lennon's discussions with Brines and referee Calum Murray at half-time.

Lennon took assistants Johan Mjallby and Alan Thompson to Hampden to provide evidence over the issue.

A spokesperson for Celtic said: "We can confirm we are satisfied with the fairness and spirit of the hearing today and that no appeal will be made against the findings or sanctions."

However, Lennon could yet face three more charges relating to separate incidents.

The Celtic manager was asked to explain comments made after the Rangers game about hoping for a decent referee performance against St Johnstone the following weekend, although there are suggestions that matter may be dropped.

Fresh charges are likely to be brought over the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Hearts at Hampden on Sunday.

Lennon marched on to the pitch to confront Euan Norris after the referee awarded Hearts a late penalty for handball but denied Celtic a similar appeal moments later.

He later tweeted "I think it's personal myself" before retweeting an angry comment from a Celtic fan.

Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew does not believe his manager will tone down his approach.

He said: "That's just the person and manager he is, he is just showing a lot of passion and I don't think there is any changing him.

"It's something that happens and sometimes maybe a big deal is made out of not very much.

"He has a lot of passion for the game, a lot of passion for Celtic so it is hard to take that away from him.

"Different people react in different ways and that's the way he does it."

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