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By ESPN Staff

Celtic to appeal Lennon's ban

Celtic have announced plans to appeal after manager Neil Lennon received a six-match touchline ban from the Scottish Football Association.

The club confirmed they were taking the action after claiming they were "very surprised and extremely disappointed'' by the sanctions imposed by the SFA's disciplinary committee.

Lennon saw his original punishment trebled after appealing against an automatic two-match ban for being sent to the stand in a game against Hearts on November 10.

He lost that appeal and received a further four-match ban for the charge of "excessive misconduct'' relating to his dismissal in the 2-0 defeat at Tynecastle.

Among the games he would be banned from the dug-out for is a Scottish Cup tie against Rangers at Ibrox, after the Old Firm rivals were paired together in the Fifth Round draw at Hampden.

A statement from Celtic read: "Celtic and Neil Lennon confirmed today that they will be appealing today's decision by the SFA disciplinary committee to impose a six-match touchline ban. The matter is in the hands of the club's lawyers.

"We are very surprised and extremely disappointed at today's decision - we believe the punishment imposed was excessive in the circumstances and to our knowledge unprecedented for a first offence.

"We have maintained for some time that a range of SFA processes and structures needed to be reviewed and updated. This view was supported recently by Henry McLeish in his review of the SFA.

"Today's events only underline and reinforce our opinion. Without question Celtic will be supporting its manager Neil Lennon in his appeal.

"As well as challenging the severity of the punishment imposed, our appeal will also focus on issues of procedural fairness and the manner in which such hearings are conducted.''

Lennon appeared in person at Hampden to plead his case. A statement from the SFA confirmed: "Following a meeting of the Scottish FA's Disciplinary Committee at Hampden Park today, the Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, was found guilty of excessive misconduct.

"Mr Lennon will serve his automatic two-match ban for being dismissed during the Clydesdale Bank Premier League match against Heart of Midlothian at Tynecastle in November 10, 2010, plus an additional four matches for excessive misconduct.

"The sanctions are effective from Tuesday, January 18, and Mr Lennon has seven days to appeal the decision.''

Celtic assistant manager Johan Mjallby had hoped Lennon would escape with no more than a two-match ban if he lost his appeal.

But the Hoops number two insists the rest of the backroom staff and the players have no option but to cope with the absence of the manager from the dug-out.

He said: "We are obviously going to miss him but we have to swallow that medicine and we have to take a bit more responsibility within the backroom staff.

"We will still have the same game-plan and set-up before games so it shouldn't change too much.

"It's a big loss but the players are professionals and some of them have seen that in the past at other clubs, when the manager is out for a few games. You just get on with it.

"I'm quite sure that Neil, from now on, is going to be a bit more calmer. He needs that aggression as well because he is the main man and we all know that he is at his best when he is really up for a game.''


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