Neil Lennon has laughed off his actions at the end of Sunday’s Old Firm draw with Rangers, while Celtic have slammed the fan who made a complaint about the incident to Glasgow police.
Lennon cupped his ears as Rangers fans booed him off the pitch at the end of the scoreless game, a result that gives Celtic the upperhand in the title race.
When the gesture was mentioned after the game, Lennon said, “Don’t ask me about that. It’s called humor, all right?
“Don’t distract away from my team’s performance. Don’t even write about it. You have the photographs, I’m sure, but it is just a bit of fun. I don’t want to distract from my team’s performance today.”
Glasgow police have confirmed that they received a complaint from a member of the public in relation to Lennon’s actions at the end of the game, but no action is likely.
A spokeswoman for the police said, “We can confirm we have received a complaint regarding Neil Lennon at the end of the Rangers-Celtic football match.
“Strathclyde Police officers were in attendance at the time and would have taken action at that time if they had deemed it appropriate.”
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell slammed the behavior of the Rangers fan who saw fit to report the incident and said, “It is absolute nonsense.
“It is laughable that such a ludicrous complaint has been made given the abuse Neil received throughout the match. It tells you more about those making the complaint than it does about Neil.”
Only nine arrests were made at the game, mostly for minor offenses, and none were in any way linked to sectarianism according to the police.
As for the game itself, Celtic captain Scott Brown insisted afterwards that the title race is still up for grabs for Rangers despite the common assertion after Sunday’s draw that the ball is now firmly in his team’s court.
“I think it is still wide open,” said Brown. “There are a lot of games to play and it will be a hard run-in.
“I thought we played really well and stood up to everything Rangers threw at us. I think on the day we were probably the better team.
“But if you had asked anyone, we would have taken one point before the game, that’s for sure.”
Familiarity was definitely an issue for both teams on Sunday as they met for the seventh time, a fact not lost on Brown. He added, “Seven games in one season against Rangers is definitely enough for anyone.
“It has been close to be fair. We have won three and been beaten twice so it’s a close contest. The build-up is frightening as are the fans’ execrations, but at the end of the day it was an entertaining game.”
Like Brown, Lennon was glad to see the back of the Rangers derby for another season, and he too believes the title race is far from over.
“I am glad the Old Firm scenario is out of the way and we don’t have to go through all the hype that surrounds it,” he said.
“That’s seven, plenty for one season. So on the balance of the seven games we have proved we are more than a match for Rangers, if not better, whether they go on to win the league or not.”
WOLVES and Ireland striker Kevin Doyle hopes to be back for the final two Premier League games of the season as he recovers from the knee injury picked up against Macedonia.
“That’s the aim at the moment,” said Doyle.”I’ve had a good week with the physios running and we’re looking at me being available for the last two games.
“Hopefully that will be the case and I can have some impact on the rest of the season.”
SHAMROCK Rovers are a point clear at the top of the Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division after a 3-1 win at home to UCD on Friday night.
Bohs did Rovers a favor with a 2-1 win away to Sligo, Dundalk beat Drogheda 2-1 in the Louth derby, Derry drew 1-1 at home to St. Pat’s and Bray’s good form continued with a 2-0 win against visitors Galway.
Dundalk, Shels, Monaghan United, Sligo Rovers, Cork City, Derry City, St Patrick’s Athletic and Limerick all advanced to the quarterfinals of the EA Sports Cup with second round wins on Monday.
Finn Harps have sacked manager James Gallagher as they struggle in the First Division of the Airtricity League.
U.S. Tour Off?
THE FAI have yet to confirm the New York friendly with Italy in June -- and may have to make alternative arrangements for an end of season tour for Giovanni Trapattoni’s side.
U.S. organizers have yet to supply the FAI with final confirmation of the two game tour, and officials admit it now hangs in the balance.
NINA Carberry became only the second woman ever to ride the Irish Grand National winner when she steered Organized Confusion to victory for her uncle Arthur Moore at Fairyhouse on Monday.
The Carberry family tradition was upheld by Nina on the 12-1 shot as she followed father Tommy and brothers Paul and Phillip into the history books as an Irish National winning jockey.
Trainer Moore has also ridden a National winner and trained Feathered Gale to win the race in 1996 while his father, Dan, also trained and rode the winner of the National.
“There’s life in the old dog yet,” said a very emotional Moore in the winner’s enclosure. “We haven’t had the best of seasons, but the staff have kept battling away and now they have been rewarded.
“This is fantastic, great, he is such a laid back horse. He was a bit free early on. We would have preferred to be further back, but then he got into a lovely rhythm.
“He will be hard to place after this, but will come back here next year. Aintree is on the agenda, but he is too young to go next year, but will do so down the road.
“He had the perfect preparation for this race, he was thriving and I’ve never seen him looking better.”
Jockey Carberry said, “It is great to win this race, it is one of the highlights of my career, big-time.
“It didn’t ride like a National, they were so strung out and there was so much light. A loose horse helped me towards the end, it kept my lad going.
“Winning the National is always top of everyone’s list. It is just brilliant to be part of it and great of Arthur to put me up. I’m an amateur and he didn’t have to do that.”
Western Charmer ran the race of his life to claim second with Sunnyhillboy in third.
RONAN O’Gara scored a late penalty to seal a 22-20 Magners League win for Munster away to the Ospreys on Saturday. Leinster won 20-8 against Aironi in Italy while Ulster beat Connacht 27-16 in their derby game at Ravenhill.
Leinster have no injury worries ahead of their big Heineken Cup semi-final date with Toulouse at the Aviva Stadium this Saturday.
Munster are also in action on Saturday when they host Harlequins in the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final at Thomond Park.
Connacht have signed former Ireland under-20 scrum-half Paul O’Donohoe from Leinster.
SNOOKER: Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen is through to the quarter-finals at the world snooker championships where he will meet former winner Mark Williams . . .
GOLF: Ireland’s Peter Lawrie finished joint second at the Volvo China Open on Sunday.
CORK’S Michael Shields and Dublin’s Philip McMahon may face disciplinary action after a halftime tunnel bust-up in the NFL final at Croke Park on Sunday.
The pair clashed as the teams made their way to the dressingrooms at the interval, and the “fight” was caught on camera by TG4.
Referee Joe McQuillan didn’t take any action, but the Central Competitions Control Committee will review the video evidence and could ban the two players for four weeks -- although such a ban won’t see them miss any action on the pitch.
Cork manager Conor Counihan isn’t concerned about any action. “It was a damp squib, as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t see anyone coming in who had to be lifted out of it or anything,” he said.
Dublin manager Pat Gilroy was of a similar mind. “I think there was nothing there, to be honest with you. There was a bit of pushing and shoving. I was coming in at the end of it but I think that’s all it was,” he said.
LIAM Rushe is Dublin’s only injury doubt for Sunday’s NHL final against Kilkenny at Croke Park after Joey Boland was declared fit to play. Kilkenny still have injury doubts over Tommy Walsh, JJ Delaney and Michael Fennelly . . .
BENNY Coulter is an injury doubt for Down’s Ulster SFC opener against Armagh on May 28 after tearing a hamstring on club duty . . .
GALWAY will meet Cavan in the All-Ireland under-21 football club final in Croke Park on Sunday.