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Lennon: Brown charge 'trumped up'

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Scott Brown

Scott Brown

PA

Scott Brown

Neil Lennon says the Scottish Football Association disciplinary charges handed to Celtic skipper Scott Brown over the scenes which followed their Old Firm win over Rangers are "trumped up".

Brown, struck by both Alfredo Morelos - who was sent off - and Ryan Kent during Sunday's Ladbrokes Premiership game, has been accused of breaching a rule which states players must act in the best interests of football.

Andy Halliday received a second yellow card post-match for remonstrating with the Celtic midfielder over his celebrations in front of the Rangers fans after a 2-1 win that stretched the Hoops' lead over the Light Blues to 13 points at the top of the table.

The Gers midfielder's approach to Brown, and the ensuing struggle sparked a mass confrontation that resulted in both clubs receiving SFA charges.

Interim Hoops boss Lennon said: "I think it is a trumped-up charge. It is something that has been made up.

"There is a law out there, from what I can gather, that you can't retrospectively be punished for gestures but it is not even an obscene gesture raising his hands aloft.

"It has just been concocted because of media pressure, or pressure from elsewhere. Scott Brown doesn't have to reproach himself for anything.

"Obviously, the club and myself will defend Scott vigorously on any charges because he has done very little, or nothing wrong."

Mood

Lennon was in a forthright mood at the club's Lennoxtown training complex ahead of today's visit of Livingston and claimed to have "no idea" of the exact accusations levelled at Brown.

He added: "It maybe will all come out in the wash if he has to go to Hampden. I think it is a massive deflection, all the noise this week about Scott.

"Our players handled the game brilliantly and some of the opposition players did not. It is as simple as that. People are trying to drag Scott into this.

"Players here handle themselves with great humility and respect the opposition."

Lennon also targeted Rangers boss Steven Gerrard who criticised the Celtic skipper's celebrations in front of the 800 or so away fans.

Rangers unsuccessfully appealed Kent's retrospective two-match ban for knocking Brown to the ground, on which Gerrard remarked: "We don't think it was violent conduct, and we don't think it was in the face, simple as that."

In response, Lennon said: "The only rational thing Steven said this week, from what I have seen, is his team played the best team in the country on Sunday.

"Apart from that, I disagree with 90 per cent of what he has spoken since the game."

The Hoops boss was "100 per cent" surprised that Rangers chose to appeal Kent's suspension.

Lennon said: "It was so blatant. My only surprise is he got two games and not three.

"It was violent conduct. You just can't do that, and again Scott Brown is said to be the antagonist or provocateur, and he wasn't at all."

Turning to today's game, Lennon said: "Livingston have had a fantastic season and can give you a bloody nose."