Sports Digest: Niall Lennon furious over Celtic player snub at union awards
None of Lennon's Celtic title-winning players land on shortlist the PFA awards
Neil Lennon’s emotions have been stretched to the limit over the past week as his Celtic players were snubbed at the player’s union awards, lost to Motherwell when he was spoken to after the game by the referee and new doubts arose about his Parkhead future.
Lennon erupted last Thursday when no player from his title winning squad was included in a Player of the Year shortlist for the PFA awards voted for by the Scottish League players.
Motherwell striker Michael Higdon, Inverness midfielder Andrew Shinnie, Hibernian forward Leigh Griffiths and Aberdeen striker Niall McGinn, formerly of Celtic, were nominated for the award, with Victor Wanyama in the running for the young player trophy.
“It beggars belief that we make a semifinal of the League Cup, final of the Scottish Cup, win the championship, make the last 16 of Europe, beating Barcelona, beating Spartak Moscow, putting the country on the map again, and I think the outcome of those votes belittles all the efforts of the players. I think it’s abysmal,” Lennon fumed.
“Are people voting for the best player in Scotland or the most improved player in Scotland? There’s a huge difference in my eyes, and that’s not taking anything from the candidates that were nominated.
“They have all had fine seasons, but to not have one Celtic player in that group is unbelievable.
“There is a lot of ill will in the dressing room now. The players are very, very disappointed with the outcome. They have performed heroically.”
Lennon also became embroiled in a dispute over the issue with fellow Ulsterman Kenny Shiels after the Kilmarnock manager labeled Celtic as “Paranoid FC” following their complaints over the player shortlist snub.
Lennon responded after the Motherwell game on Sunday when he said, “Kenny has always had plenty to say about our club. He likes to ramble on in little monologues, he is a bit like David Brent sometimes. He is an unconscious comedian.
“Nothing surprises me from Kenny. He has had a couple of barbed comments about my team and the club over the last couple of years so he must have a personal agenda. I don’t know, you would need to ask him about that
“I do take exception to the paranoia comment. That’s been thrown at our club for the last 15 to 20 years but I think the last three or four years have proved that we weren’t paranoid, we were just right.”
Currently serving a three game touchline ban, Lennon was in the stands at Motherwell when referee Euan Norris awarded a controversial second half penalty after Charlie Mulgrew was adjudged to have fouled Henrik Ojamaa just inside the box. Michael Higdon scored from the spot to put Motherwell 2-1 up and put the game beyond Celtic.
Lennon revealed afterwards that he was called into the referee’s game, and he may now be the subject of further disciplinary action.
“The ref called me into his room. It was about a number of things but we’ll leave that confidential for now. I don’t know if I am in trouble. Maybe,” he said.
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