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Gutted Neil Lennon sees red in first game as Hibs manager

By Steven Beacom

Neil Lennon blasted the officials after he was sent to the stand during his first match as Hibs manager which ended in a 1-0 defeat at home to Brondby in the Europa League.

The former Northern Ireland star was dismissed just 30 minutes into his debut when he protested over a disallowed goal for Hibs, who had fallen behind with only 16 seconds played.

Lennon was fuming when the assistant to Spanish referee Juan Martinez Munueara ruled a strike from Jason Cummings offside and his anger increased when he was ordered out of the dug-out.

Lennon said: "We had a legitimately perfect, brilliant goal disallowed. He's onside and I was angry because, firstly, he (the assistant referee) got it wrong, and he wasn't up with play.

"I remonstrated with the linesman and was sent off for no reason whatsoever. I didn't think the referee had a good game, which is what I expected after looking at his record before the game.

"The relationship with the two linesmen was poor.

"I want to appeal it, because it's just a piece of nonsense."

Lennon added: "It's the first time in Europe that I've been sent to the stand so I'm really irked by that. It looked to me like he (Munueara) wanted to be the star of the show rather than the players."

Hibs thought they should have had a penalty midway through the second half when Grant Holt went down inside the box.

Lennon said: "If the referee doesn't book Grant then it should have been a penalty. He's not going to fall over on his own. It looked like there was contact, but it was minimal. A lot of his decisions were pretty inconsistent."

In the first leg second round qualifying clash Hibs gifted Danish outfit Brondby the lead in the first minute when Otso Virtanen fumbled a harmless-looking effort into the path of Kamil Wilczek.

Overall though Lennon was pleased by his side's efforts.

Elsewhere, Aberdeen defeated Ventspils from Latvia 3-0 while Hearts drew 0-0 with Birkirkara in Malta.

Belfast Telegraph

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