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Lennon admits that it's good to talk

NEIL LENNON last night hailed a "cordial, constructive" meeting with the Scottish Football Association's compliance officer, Vincent Lunny, that was set up to defuse the tension between the disciplinary authorities and club managers.

The Celtic manager was part of a delegation of Scottish Premier League managers, including Steve Lomas of St Johnstone and Kenny Shiels of Kilmarnock, that met Lunny at Hampden after a recent appeal by Lennon for better communication between managers, referees and the SFA and clearer guidelines on acceptable behaviour.

Lomas, subject of an eight-match touchline ban, faces further sanctions after being called before an SFA disciplinary hearing later this month for kicking a water bottle during his team's 1-0 defeat against Hibernian on November 28.

Shiels has been served with two separate notices of complaint. He has to explain critical remarks made about referee Euan Norris after his side's defeat to Inverness on November 3 and he faces further sanctions after protesting against the red card shown to Manuel Pascali during a home defeat to St Johnstone last month.

"It was very good, a productive meeting. There were obviously a lot of things said that will have to remain in the context of the meeting but it was very worthwhile to do it and we will take it on from there,'' said Lennon.

The Celtic manager, who has not been in trouble with the authorities this season but who was censured and banned last season, was in conciliatory mood. "We looked at a few things we can improve on, about the way we are being treated at times in the management fraternity, and the relationships between ourselves.''

He was pleased at the mood and content of the meeting that was also attended by John Fleming, the head of refereeing development at the SFA. "It never got heated, it was cordial and everyone listened to each others' point of view,'' he said. ''We want to take it on from there, particularly through Alex Smith, head of the managers' association. It was very productive.''

Lennon believes the meeting will improve matters in the long run, with Lunny prepared to meet every SPL manager in the new year.

''It not a closed shop there at all,'' he said of the disciplinary process. "Vincent has been out to see managers and I spoke to him last year about having a catch-up. We are hoping there will be changes but it has to suit everybody.''

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