Celtic back O'Neill's show of defiance as SFA considers action

The Celtic executive director Peter Lawwell has shown his support for Martin O'Neill, following what he called "hysterical" criticism of the manager.

The Celtic executive director Peter Lawwell has shown his support for Martin O'Neill, following what he called "hysterical" criticism of the manager.

The Scottish Football Association is still waiting for the referee Kenny Clark's report into Saturday's explosive Old Firm derby, in which two Celtic players were sent off. That could include retrospective red cards for further players from both Celtic and Rangers following a game marred by flashpoints. But O'Neill could also find himself in trouble with the SFA for striding on to the Ibrox pitch following their 2-0 defeat and defiantly parading Neil Lennon to the Celtic supporters while shaking his fist.

Lennon is the player Rangers fans love to hate and O'Neill claimed he was simply showing that his fellow Northern Irishman is loved by the Celtic faithful, no matter what abuse he receives from other clubs' supporters. But the fist-shaking gesture could be interpreted as inflammatory following a game which produced plenty of controversy during the 90 minutes.

But Lawwell was quick to defend O'Neill. He said: "I am astonished at the reaction in some quarters to the events at Ibrox Park on Saturday. Our manager Martin O'Neill has been on the receiving end of criticism which can only be described as hysterical.

"Martin's conduct throughout his four and a half years in charge at Celtic has been nothing short of exemplary, and his contribution, not only to Celtic, but to the progress of Scottish teams in Europe, is far too easily forgotten.

"Martin's behaviour both during and after the game on Saturday underlined his support for, and commitment to, the playing squad.

"As he said, throughout the game there was an incredible amount of unspeakable abuse directed at Neil Lennon. In today's society, no one should have to put up with sectarian abuse of this nature, and Martin was keen to support a player who has been central to the domestic and European success Celtic has enjoyed in recent years."

Alan Thompson and Chris Sutton were both sent off, and a number of other players were fortunate to remain on the pitch. Thompson's dismissal was the more controversial after Peter Lovenkrands had theatrically thrown himself to the ground, claiming he had been head-butted by the Englishman. Lovenkrands failed to reappear for the second-half and the Rangers manager Alex McLeish revealed he had received a kick coming off the pitch at half-time.

Lawwell confirmed that Celtic will appeal against Thompson's red card. He said: "It will be up to the SFA to take what action they deem necessary after receiving the referee's report and reviewing video evidence, but we certainly intend to appeal against Alan Thompson's red card after Peter Lovenkrands' reaction.

"The facts speak for themselves - prior to Saturday's game, we were sitting at the top of the Fair Play league in Scotland, something which has been forgotten in the rush to condemn our players and manager.

"I would like to highlight my gratitude to the Celtic fans who have many times this season underlined the reason why they have received both the Uefa and Fifa Fair Play awards in the past 12 months.

"They can be assured that everyone at the club will be redoubling our efforts to ensure that we do not relinquish our Championship easily."

The SFA is to investigate incidents involving Henri Camara and Nacho Novo. Celtic's Camara could incur a retrospective ban after appearing to stamp on Gregory Vignal during the Old Firm match. Rangers' Novo could find himself in trouble for stamping on Stephen Pearson's neck while the Celtic player lay on the ground.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen