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Lennon wants apology for penalty

Neil Lennon would like an apology from Dougie McDonald after the referee admitted lying to the Celtic boss following the now-infamous Tannadice penalty decision.

McDonald rescinded a spot-kick award in the Hoops' 2-1 win over Dundee United more than three weeks ago after consulting assistant Steven Craven.

An investigation by the Scottish Football Association in to the incident ended with McDonald being given a warning by the SFA's referees committee over his failure to properly explain Craven's role in his report and in discussions with the referee observer.

McDonald then admitted misleading Lennon after the game and while the Parkhead club moved last week to draw a line under the issue after SFA chief executive Stewart Regan promised procedural reform, Lennon remains dissatisfied.

Ahead of tomorrow night's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Hearts at Tynecastle, Lennon was asked if, as part of the SFA's proposed changes, an apology should be forthcoming and he replied: "I would like to think so, yes, just out of professional respect more than anything else. I don't like being lied to.

"I don't know what the resolution is yet. I assume there are going to be new measures but once that all comes out, I will comment on it then."

While many believe that McDonald's position remains untenable the under-fire referee will return to the top flight in Saturday's Hibernian versus Motherwell match.

Asked if he would be satisfied if McDonald kept his job, the former Celtic skipper replied: "It's not for me to answer that question, it's not for me to make that decision."

Lennon then expressed surprise at McDonald's swift return to SPL duty, saying: "I'm surprised at it being so quickly, yes."

But, asked about the prospect of him soon taking a Celtic game, he simply said: "We will cross that bridge when we come to it."

Lennon claimed the referees issue overshadowed the remarkable 9-0 win over Aberdeen at the weekend and claimed to be confident his side has the firepower to hand out similar thrashings again this season.

However, he refuted comparisons being made between hat-trick heroes Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes and Hoops legends Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton, who both watched the game as guests of the club.

Lennon said: "We are capable of doing it again but I don't know when.

"We have good attacking options, we have a bit of flair and pace in the team.

"Stokes, Hooper, (Georgios) Samaras, (Daryl) Murphy, (Shaun) Maloney, (Paddy) McCourt and (Niall) McGinn are all weighing in with goals.

"Long may that continue. I'm not expecting that (the 9-0 win) to happen on a regular basis but we brought Stokes and Hooper in particularly to add goals to the club and they have done that so far.

"But it is very early days yet and all this talk comparing them to Larsson and Sutton is just a bit premature to say the least."

Lennon spared a thought for Dons boss Mark McGhee, whose position was left under threat by the Pittodrie club's record defeat.

"I know Mark very well and he has been good to me during my time here," the former Leicester midfielder said.

"There are a lot of teams I would like to beat 9-0 but Mark's team probably isn't one of them, but it just happened to be footballing fates.

"It is one of those rare occurrences which happen in football. Mark has the strength of character to come back from that.

"Obviously we are very pleased with the performance. It's good to boost the goal difference and it's good to get a clean sheet but at the end of the day it's just three points."