Lennon furious at penalty decision despite Celtic win

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The Independent Football

Neil Lennon described referee Dougie McDonald's controversial decision to rescind his penalty award to Celtic in their 2-1 win at Dundee United yesterday as "unacceptable".

With an enthralling Scottish Premier League encounter at Tannadice level at 1-1 in the second half – after David Goodwillie had cancelled out Gary Hooper's opener before the break – McDonald pointed to the spot when United keeper Dusan Pernis dived at the feet of Hooper to prevent him going through on goal.

However, after consulting his assistant, Steven Craven, McDonald gave a drop ball in the box. McDonald then had words with Lennon before his assistant Charlie Smith alerted the referee to missiles thrown on to the pitch.

Hooper scored a dramatic winner two minutes from time to extend Celtic's 100 per cent record in the SPL this season ahead of Sunday's Old Firm derby with leaders Rangers at Celtic Park.

After the game Lennon was seething about the penalty incident. "I didn't get an explanation until the referee came over and spoke to me," the Celtic manager said. "His explanation was that his linesman had a better view of it and the keeper had played the ball. I find that unacceptable."

Meanwhile, Rangers full-back Steven Whittaker insists his team are ready for crucial games against Valencia and Celtic after fighting back to win 4-1 at home to Motherwell on Saturday.

"It's going to be massive," he said. "The Motherwell game was a tricky one and the international break could have put us off track. But we got the result in this one and the next two games are ones that, as a footballer, you want to play in."

Motherwell took a first-half lead at Ibrox through Nick Blackman but Rangers hit back after the break. Steven Naismith sparked the comeback,before goals from Steven Davis, Kenny Miller and Vladimir Weiss sealed a convincing victory.