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Lennon: Spell out to us what managers are allowed to say

NEIL Lennon has appealed to Vincent Lunny, the Scottish Football Association's compliance officer, to hold urgent talks with managers and outline what constitutes unacceptable conduct.

Iain Brines and Steve Lomas exchange  views at Celtic Park. The St Johnstone  manager was sent to the stand and has  subsequently received an eight-match ban.
Iain Brines and Steve Lomas exchange views at Celtic Park. The St Johnstone manager was sent to the stand and has subsequently received an eight-match ban.

Lennon was speaking at the end of a week in which Steve Lomas, the St Johnstone manager, and Kenny Shiels, of Kilmarnock, found themselves in trouble with the governing body.

Lomas was banned from the dugout for eight games on Thursday following a touchline altercation with an assistant during a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park last month. Shiels, meanwhile, has been ordered to explain comments he made in a radio interview after his side's defeat to Inverness Caley Thistle at Rugby Park.

Lennon, who has a suspended three-match ban hanging over him from last season's Scottish Cup semi-final, admitted he feels for his fellow Northern Irishmen.

The Celtic manager wants Lunny, the governing body's first compliance officer, to meet with leading coaches and explain fully what they are allowed to say to officials and in the media.

Lennon said: "I do sympathise because there are times when it feels like you can't speak to people. I got sent to the stand at Ibrox last season and I felt it was totally uncalled for.

"I do think at times it's a bit over the top and I agree with Kenny that sometimes we get treated condescendingly. I do think the relationship between officials and managers could be better. I have spoken to a few managers in the past on this issue and they just don't seem to have a relationship with them at all.

"They just don't bother having any communication with officials now, that's their way of dealing with it. I've taken a huge backward step as well, although I do still have a relationship with officials where I can."

Lennon added: "Referees have visited clubs in the past but the one person who should really come and speak to the managers is Vincent Lunny. We need to find out what we can and cannot say, to officials and in the press. What is deemed to be punishable and what is not.

"I think there have to be guidelines for managers, especially when we're doing post-match interviews [during which] we are asked about a referee's performance. We just want an understanding, particularly of controversial or debatable decisions.

"Can we be critical of a referee's performances? Is that fair on the referee? They don't mean to go out and have a poor day but some do. That is what gets us flustered at times.

"Then when we come out and speak honestly about it, we get punished for it and we don't have the right to do our job properly. So I think there is an imbalance there.

"If Vincent is the one who is applying the law when we go to these tribunals, then he should be the one coming out and having a meeting with every manager to say, 'This is what you can say and this is what you can't say'."

Lunny has met with coaches and managers in the past. He addressed the Managers' Association in April.

reaction Call for urgent meeting with SFA man to define unacceptable conduct

Interview, Page 5

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