By Martin Macdonald
|LENNON FUMES AT OFFICIALS
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has spoken of his frustration and disappointment at the performance of referee Bobby Madden in his side's 1-1 draw with St Mirren on Sunday afternoon.
The official has been demoted for next weekend's round of fixtures after making some contrversial decisions in the match at St Mirren. Madden opted to send off Victor Wanyama for a late challenge on Paul McGowan and then awarded the hosts a penalty kick when Jose Goncalves took a dive under the challenge of Emilio Izaguirre, a challenge that was outside the penalty box.
The Celtic boss did not mince his words in his evaluation of the referee after the match. Speaking to the media, he said:
"That is by far the most appalling refereeing performance I've seen this season. How he got so many big decisions wrong in one day is beyond me.
I haven't said anything insulting or called the referee's competence. I just thought he had an appalling game."
When quizzed about the sending off of Wanyama and the penalty given to St Mirren, Lennon continued his scathing assessment of the referee, insisting that Celtic will be appealing the decision to send off the Kenyan
"Absolutely. It's absolutely awful," he said. "Beram Kayal was thrown into the advertising boards and five seconds later my man gets sent off - which is never a red card. We'll be appealing the decision.
"The penalty St Mirren did get was outside the box and there's no contact. I'm delighted we got a point out of it but there's no doubt the decisions ruined what could have been, potentially, a very good game."
Kris Commons nodded the Bhoys into an early lead, but Celtic were unable to capitalise as the game progressed and the Buddies grew further into the match. The controversial penalty decision eventually saw McGowan equalise for the home side, and Lennon, although unhappy with the decisions, insisted his team should have performed better.
"I was pleased with the start we made, we looked bright, but then we let St Mirren back into the game," he said. "That's something we need to work on because in previous games we've also gone a goal up and seemed to switch off. There are still a few of them not finding their best form at the minute and I don't know why."
Celtic will be crowned Scottish Premier League champions this weekend if they can manage to defeat Hibernian, and Motherwell lose to St Mirren at Fir Park.
The Hoops earned a point against the Buddies in the last round of SPL fixtures, meaning that if they can go a further three points clear of Stuart McCall's outfit this week, they will be crowned champions for the second consecutive season.
However, talk of lifting the trophy is not on the agenda for the Celtic Park side yet, as they are solely focused on collecting the victory against Hibs on Saturday afternoon.
Manager Neil Lennon has urged his side to pick up their performance against Pat Fenlon's men this weekend. He said:
"We've got a week now to get ready for Hibs and I want to start seeing performances at a level I expect because I didn't see that on Sunday. We will be going into it to win.
"We've been unlucky against Hibs, we were formidable in both of the games this season but we've only come away with a point at home and nothing away. I'll be looking for a similar performance but a better result."
The Glasgow outfit are yet to record a victory against their Edinburgh rivals this season, despite arguably dominating the fixtures, and Joe Ledley has urged the Hoops to clean sheet in order to seal the win, and the SPL title.
“We always feel we will always score goals at home and that's what we will need to do in the next game but keep the back door shut."
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