Hibs boss to demand penalty explanation from referees’ chief

Neil Lennon confronts referee Bobby Madden at full time
Neil Lennon confronts referee Bobby Madden at full time
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Neil Lennon will today demand an explanation from the SFA’s head of referees, John Fleming, claiming Hibs were denied a stonewall penalty against Morton.

The Easter Road boss was adamant there was no difference when Martin Boyle’s volley hit the arms of Cappielow defender Mark Russell to the previous week when Hibs’ Lewis Stevenson was penalised at Dunfermline.

Lennon headed straight for referee Bobby Madden after the final whistle following the 1-1 draw, Jason Cummings’ 21st goal of the season cancelled out by Lawrence Shankland’s second half spot-kick.

While having no complaints about the Greenock club’s penalty, awarded after Hibs centre back Darren McGregor brought down Morton substitute Jamie McDonagh, Lennon admitted he was at a loss when it came to understanding the “ball to hand” rules.

Revealing he’ll be calling Fleming for clarification, Lennon said: “Last week we were told Lewis’ arm was in an unnatural position so you accept it but I do not understand it because Lewis was as close as Russell was to Martin.

“The ball might have been going across the face of goal but I don’t get it. It was clear, we could all see it. It wasn’t one hand but two.”

Dunfermline’s penalty was given on the say-so of assistant referee Willie Ferguson but, on this occasion, Madden’s far-side assistant Kevin McElhinney didn’t intervene while the ref himself waved away the protests of those Hibs players around him.

“Is there an agenda?” asked Lennon, “I do not know – might be getting paranoid.”

When pressed as to whether he genuinely thought there was an agenda, he replied: “I’m starting to think that. We’ve had three red cards rescinded this season.”

The third of those was revoked only 48 hours earlier, McGregor freed to play at Cappielow having had his sending-off for confronting Morton forward Kudus Oyenuga during the fracas which had marred the end of the previous match between these two clubs ten days earlier reduced to a yellow.

Lennon went on: “I don’t know any team in a season, and we are not finished yet, who have had three red cards rescinded that have cost us points. I don’t want to sound paranoid, but I did not like the referee’s performance.”