Neil Lennon ‘regrets’ reaction to sending off following SFA charge

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon says he expected an SFA charge after being sent off at the weekend but is still unhappy with his dismissal

Neil Lennon says he regrets his reaction to being sent off during Hibernian’s 2-2 draw with Kilmarnock, but insists the referee was wrong to dismiss him.

The Hibs manager was sent to the stands for protesting referee Kevin Clancy’s decision to award a penalty for handball against his side during the game on Saturday.

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Lennon has since been charged by the SFA for misconduct and criticising officials, and when asked about the decision, he said: “I expected that to be the case.

“I didn’t agree with the penalty decision and I didn’t agree with me being sent off. However, my reaction to the sending off was regrettable.

“The decision was made on the penalty and I told the referee what I thought about the decision, as any manager does.

“The penalty is scored and I’m trying to think what we’re going to do next. Next thing, the referee comes over, no conversation, you’re off to the stand.”

Lennon stated he would consider phoning Clancy to apologise for his reaction, and also insisted he was more upset about being sent off than the award of the penalty.

When asked if he would ring the referee, Lennon said: “Possibly yes. Is he going to apologise for sending me off? I didn’t think it merited a sending off.

“I think the penalty was wrong at the time and I think it’s wrong now, but in a split second you can make these decisions. The sending off I was very upset about.”

Lennon, who coached Celtic between 2010 and 2014, also discussed the international retirement of Scott Brown, but refused to suggest Hibs midfielder John McGinn could replace the Celtic captain in the international team.

He said: “I’m surprised because he’s playing well for club and country. He’s 32, maybe he’s looking at this as cutting down his schedule of games.

“I don’t think there will be any going back this time.

“John’s having a brilliant season. He’s young and I think he’s caught the eye, which is great. But let’s just see how he develops over the next year or so.

“Is he a ready-made replacement for Scott Brown? No. Scott Brown’s the best midfielder in the country. It’s a good target for John to have though.”