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Hearts got off, says Celtic boss Lennon

By Ronnie Esplin

Neil Lennon remains “surprised” that Hearts managed to escape sanctions for the touchline incident at Tynecastle in May in which he was attacked by a Jambos fan.

During a tempestuous Clydesdale Bank Premier League encounter, which the visitors won 3-0, John Wilson emerged from behind the technical area to clash with the Parkhead boss.

During his trial Wilson admitted attacking Lennon but the charge of assault, aggravated by religious prejudice, was controversially found not proven although he was found guilty of breach of the peace.

After their own investigation, the Scottish Premier League decided no action would be taken against Hearts.

Lennon will return to Tynecastle tomorrow for the first time since that eventful night when there was also trouble in the Celtic end where stewards were attacked by visiting fans. And the former Northern Ireland international alluded to the fact that Celtic were fined by Uefa in 2007 after a fan ran on to the park during a Champions League game against AC Milan at Parkhead and made contact with visiting keeper Dida.

The Parkhead club were found guilty of “a lack of organisation and improper conduct of supporters” and ordered to pay £12,500 immediately, with the same amount again suspended for a two-year probationary period.

Asked if he was surprised that the Edinburgh club had escaped punishment for what appeared to be a more serious incident, Lennon replied: “Yes, it has happened to us in the past.

“I don't know if it is an SFA thing or whoever makes the rules and regulations on it but I am surprised that they got away with a slap on the wrist, if you want to call it that.

“I would like more stringent measures taken and more stringent punishment if anything like that happens again, although I am hoping it doesn't and it is one-off.

“I don't really want to go through that scenario again.”

Lennon, who revealed midfielder Joe Ledley will have a scan on a groin injury which is likely to see him miss the trip to Gorgie, believes he will be safe tomorrow.

“I'm sure measures will be in place and it (dugout) will probably be the safest place for me to be on Sunday,” he said. “I'm hoping that anyway. I am basically more concerned about the way we play and getting the three points.”

The former Celtic skipper is still smarting from the late penalty given against his side in Thursday night's Europa League game against Udinese at Parkhead.

“We played well, deserved to win and got done on a poor decision,” he said.

“I've no idea why. Look at the Scotland versus Czech Republic game recently where a really dubious penalty decision was given against Scotland, so we are not exclusive to it, it just seems to happen.”

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