Hibs to defend manager Neil Lennon after Scottish FA disciplinary charge for goal celebration against Rangers

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HIBERNIAN are expected to vigorously defend Neil Lennon after the Easter Road boss was left facing a Scottish FA suspension for his behaviour in Sunday’s explosive 5-5 draw between the teams.

Lennon is now set to start next season with a touchline ban after the SFA served him with a notice of complaint following an animated celebration that saw him run on to the pitch towards the Rangers supporters in the wake of Hibs’ dramatic injury-time equaliser.

The former Celtic head coach was handed a five-match ban for ‘misconduct’ in February, when two games were suspended for good behaviour in the remainder of 2018, and again stands accused of breaching the same disciplinary rule, 203.

If found guilty at a hearing on June 21, he will have to serve those two games plus whatever punishment the panel decides to impose for Sunday’s celebration.

His five-match censure for his Rugby Park bust-up with referee Kevin Clancy was regarded as a ‘mid-range’ sentence in the SFA’s sliding scale, whereas a lower end misdemeanour carries a two-game suspension and the ‘top end’ penalty allows for a 10-match ban.

At full-time on Sunday, Lennon insisted being sent to the stand had been ‘worth it’ but, citing ‘personal’ and ‘sectarian’ abuse from the Rangers fans, he felt there should be no further ramifications.

He said at the time “They make it personal, don’t they? You all hear it. They’re singing sectarian songs at me.

“So it’s just a little bit of ‘have some of that’. It was worth [getting sent to the stand]. Trust me, it was worth it.

“I shouldn’t get a ban for that. I was nowhere near them really, I was just letting them know how pleased I was to get the equaliser.

“It’s harmless, isn’t it? I think the sending-off’s enough. I don’t think I should get further punishment for that.”

After SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan took a different view, Hibs now have until next Tuesday to submit a formal response.

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