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Celtic boss Neil Lennon is in the wars again after his team’s double hopes bit the dust in controversial fashion as they lost Sunday’s Scottish Cup semifinal to Hearts at Hampden Park.
Lennon was incensed when referee Euan Norris awarded a 92nd minute penalty to the Edinburgh club which former Celtic striker Craig Beattie scored from to secure a dramatic 2-1 win.
Celtic, angry that Norris awarded the penalty for handball against Joe Ledley, then had a late penalty claim of their own turned down in the dying seconds.
A furious Lennon confronted Norris on the pitch after the final whistle, snubbed the post match press conference and then engaged in a Twitter rant against the referee, claiming the decision was “personal.”
Already in trouble with the Scottish authorities for clashing with refs on three occasions this season, Lennon is now in more hot water as former ref Hugh Dallas accused him of “bullying” Norris at the end of the match.
Lennon tweeted, “Referee told players he thought (Victor) Wanyama handled...feel so sorry for players and fans...I think it’s personal myself.”
He later re-tweeted a comment from Celtic supporter @DazDiCanio which suggested the club “pack our bags and get out of this league that is run by crooked #SFA officials.”
Celtic coach Alan Thompson had to attend the post match press conference in Lennon’s place when he confirmed that Lennon had also confronted Norris in the referees’ room after the match.
Thompson said, “I think he has been in, yes, but I wasn’t there so I don’t know what was said.
“We are all angry. We have just lost the semifinal of the cup when there were 92 minutes on the clock, it is frustrating.”
Reports also suggest that late on Sunday night, Lennon continued to rage on Twitter, accusing Manchester United supporter @mccart3204 of talking “clap trap” when he suggested Celtic striker Gary Hooper had been offside for the Hoops’ equalizer which cancelled out Rudi Skacel’s opener.
Lennon then dismissed as “nonsense” a comment from Celtic fan @-FlyTheFlag that the team “shouldn’t be relying on decisions, the players weren’t good enough.”
He did add a good luck message for Hearts manager Paulo Sergio. “However I would like to wish Paulo and his team the best for the final,” he said.
Hearts will now meet a Hibs side managed by Irishman Pat Fenlon in the all-Edinburgh decider.
GARY Twigg scored his first Tallaght hat-trick as Shamrock Rovers beat Dundalk 6-0 in the Airtricity League on Friday night.
Sligo stayed on top of the table despite a 1-1 draw at home to Derry in the north-west derby, while St. Pats were held to a scoreless draw at Drogheda United.
Cork also scored six goals as they hammered Monaghan United 6-0. Bohs beat UCD 2-1 at Belfield and Shels won 2-1 at home to Bray.
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