Celtic boss Neil Lennon agrees with "astonished" Michael Stewart on worrying precedent

By John McGinley

February 6, 2021

Celtic manager Neil Lennon reckons that the Scottish FA have moved the goalposts on the club again after their decision to charge Albian Ajeti for simulation.

The striker faces a two-match ban after winning a Celtic penalty against Kilmarnock on Tuesday night.

Lennon has gone on the record multiple times to voice his displeasure on the subject.

Today on Radio Scotland he went further, agreeing that the situation is worrying beyond the isolated Ajeti incident.

Asked by reporter Jane Lewis if he thinks it sets a ‘dangerous precedent’, Lennon told Sportsound (14:44): “I agree, I heard Michael [Stewart] talk about it last night as well. I agreed with him. It is a new thing, it looks like the goalposts have been moved again on Celtic.

“So we’re not happy about it and we will defend it as vigorously as we possibly can. This isn’t to make a point, this is just to protect the player.

“He feels aggrieved as well that this has been brought up, as we all do, so hopefully common sense can prevail and we can move on.”

Neil Lennon unhappy with Scottish FA – what did Stewart say?

Michael Stewart spoke about the subject on Friday night’s BBC Sportsound. The outspoken pundit is never afraid to call it as he sees it.

He’s “astonished” that Ajeti was cited.

The comments from Stewart that Lennon appears to agree with were: “I am astonished, very surprised, that he’s been done because there was contact. It sets a bit of a precedent here.

“There’s loads of times when things happen and there’s contact but people overemphasise it or make more of it. Are they all going to get two-match bans here?

“The point here is we’re venturing past diving. Who determines, when there is contact, if the contact was enough? This to me is a first. I can’t remember any other one where there’s been contact but someone’s been cited for simulation.”

Hampden Park / (Photo by Paul Harding – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

There’s a bit of pressure on the SFA now heading into next week then.

An appeal will be heard on Monday, after which Celtic will find out whether he can play in matches against St Mirren and St Johnstone.

Given he has only just returned to starting line-ups, it would be a blow if he was ruled out for those two.

In other news, Lennon has explained why Hatem Abd Elhamed is leaving Celtic.