Kevin Clancy will referee a Hibs match for the first time since sending Easter Road boss Neil Lennon to the stand at Rugby Park six months ago when he takes charge of Sunday’s Betfred Cup tie with Ross County.
Lennon was hit with a five-match ban after launching a blistering attack on Clancy for what he described as “a scandalous decision” in awarding a penalty during the match in February which allowed Kilmarnock to level the game.
The Hibs head coach sarcastically clapped in Clancy’s face as he ordered him out of the away dug-out and afterwards accused the official of having “guessed” the ball had struck defender Ryan Porteous’ arm, Killie striker Kris Boyd scoring at the second attempt after goalkeeper Ofir Marciano had saved his spot-kick.
A furious Lennon branded Clancy an “amateur” and claimed referees themselves should be sent to the stand for some of their decisions which he insisted were costing his side points while adding Clancy had failed to award Hibs a penalty at Easter Road – a reference to a clear handball by Rangers defender David Bates in a game the Capital side lost 2-1 three months earlier which went unpunished.
Lennon was sentenced to an immediate three-game ban with a further two matches suspended provided he didn’t offend again during the season. However, that penalty was invoked, along with a further one-game ban, for Lennon’s “aeroplane celebration” as he ran onto the pitch having seen his side snatch a draw in an epic 5-5 tussle with Rangers on the final day of the season. Ironically, Sunday will see Lennon serve the final game of that suspension, leaving him to watch from the director’s box rather than the touchline.