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Neil Lennon blasts 'scandalous' UEFA ban over signal from the stands

Hibernian 3-2 Asteras Tripolis

By Will Jackson

Neil Lennon held some frustration despite his Hibernian side's Europa League victory on Thursday evening.

Lennon's men roared back from 2-0 down to beat Asteras Tripolis 3-2 at Easter Road but the boss was 'disgusted' after learning that he will not be able to return to the touchline in Greece for next week's second leg.

He had been due to complete a four-match European ban from two years ago last night, but has been handed an extended suspension and a fine by Uefa for allegedly signalling for a substitution while in the stands.

It came with his side already well ahead in the first leg against Runavik two weeks ago, but it means Lennon will have to watch on as his players try to secure a place in the third round of qualifying.

“It’s ridiculous and scandalous, I’m disgusted,” he said. “They said I made a substitute signal, but we were 5-0 up and it had no bearing on the result.

“I was actually doing it to the guy next to me.

“It is unbelievable. We might just accept it and get on with it, because it (appealing) will probably be futile.

“We have submitted an appeal of some sort but it’s pointless, and there is a fine involved as well.

“I can’t get my head around it at all, I think it is very harsh.”

Lennon was proud of the on-field display as Florian Kamberi scored in injury time to complete a remarkable comeback that saw Hibs give themselves an advantage heading into the second leg.

Things had looked bleak after Georgios Kyriakopoulos scored twice, but Efe Ambrose, David Gray and Kamberi all netted to spark wild celebrations at Easter Road.

 

“It was a good performance,” said Lurgan man Lennon. “I’m really proud of the team, they showed tremendous character because they could easily have given up the ghost, but we should have won by more.

“We missed some easy chances but to come from two goals down, and the manner we conceded the goals was bitterly disappointing, but it’s tremendous character.

“They have a bit about them, this team. The tie is back in the balance and could still go either way.

“I would have taken 2-2 under the circumstances, but to be 3-2 up psychologically it has given us a lift but we are taking nothing for granted.

“I know what it’s like away in Europe, it’s tough but it was a tremendous effort from the players.”

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