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Ref rage could put Celtic boss Neil Lennon in hot water

Celtic manager Neil Lennon faces a wait to discover the extent of his possible punishment following another refereeing controversy.

Lennon will be hit with an automatic two-match ban after being sent to the stand by referee Craig Thomson during his side's 2-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League defeat by Hearts.

Lennon was reported by fourth official Steven McLean following his complaints over a rejected penalty claim when Hearts midfielder Ryan Stevenson used a hand to take the ball away from Gary Hooper in the box.

And he reacted angrily towards McLean after being sent to the stand by the referee.

The two-match dugout ban is automatic unless Lennon appeals against his dismissal, but he may also face further sanctions if Thomson's report accuses him of excessive misconduct.

The SFA could issue another charge against Lennon for his post-match comments on the officials. The Celtic manager described the fourth official's decision as “scandalous” and confirmed he would be seeking clarification from the SFA, and would consider appealing.

The row is the latest involving Lennon and match officials in the past four weeks. Celtic wrote to the SFA seeking clarification over Dougie McDonald's penalty U-turn in their 2-1 win at Dundee United and over a penalty award for Rangers by Willie Collum during their 3-1 Old Firm defeat.

And Lennon appeared to refer to McDonald's admission that he had lied to the Celtic manager over the circumstances surrounding his decision to rescind the penalty.

When asked whether he would seek clarification over his dismissal, Lennon said: “I will but they will probably have their story ready already.”

“I don't know where my relationship with officials lies. They keep getting big decisions wrong, game-changing decisions as well.

“Craig is supposed to be one of the best officials in the country. It doesn't say a lot for the rest if that's the case. I don't want to go too far down the line in case I get myself into more trouble. Jim Jefferies is sitting in the stand tonight and I will be sitting in the stand for two games. We all can't be wrong.”

Lennon could find himself in trouble if his comments are referred to the SFA's general purposes committee, which is due to meet later this month.

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