Hibs last night expressed disappointment after manager Neil Lennon was hit with a three-match touchline ban.
The Northern Irishman was charged with misconduct following his on-field aeroplane celebrations in the wake of his team’s late equaliser in the 5-5 draw with Rangers on the final day of last season. At yesterday’s hearing, Lennon admitted the charge and was given a one-match suspension for the offence, which, in turn, activated a suspended two-match ban imposed following a previous indiscretion in a match against Kilmarnock in February.
Lennon is now set to sit in the stand for the opening two Premiership fixtures of the upcoming season at home to Motherwell and away to St Johnstone, while he will also miss his team’s opening Betfred Cup fixture, which is due to take place on the weekend of August 18.
Lennon claimed after the match at Easter Road on May 13 that he should not be punished because his celebration, where he ran gleefully around the pitch in front of the visiting Rangers fans with his arms outstretched after Jamie Maclaren’s dramatic equaliser, was in response to sectarian abuse he had been subjected to by the away support.
After the imposing of the ban yesterday, a Hibs spokesperson said: “The club is disappointed with the outcome, and indeed with the process through which the tribunal arrived at the outcome. Unfortunately, we do not believe that an appeal process would be worthwhile and so are unlikely to appeal.”
Lennon will also be banned from the touchline for Hibs’ next four Europa League matches as a result of a punishment incurred following an incident in the home defeat by Brondby two years ago. Unless Hibs get past both NSI Runavik and Asteras Trípolis to reach the third qualifying round, then the manager won’t be in the Hibs dugout for a competitive match until the Premiership visit of Aberdeen on 25 August.
Meanwhile, the kick-off time for Hibs’ first pre-season friendly, away to Linlithgow Rose a week on Saturday, has been changed from 3pm to 3.30pm. Tickets, priced at £6, are currently on sale for the match at Prestonfield.