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Refs should explain their decisions after games, says Neil Lennon

Celtic manager Neil Lennon claims referees should explain their decisions if they want to have their say on Nadir Ciftci's punishment for manhandling a linesman.

The Scottish Senior Football Referees Association has stood by its criticism of the two-match ban, one of which is suspended, handed to the Dundee United forward for "placing an open hand into the lower area of the assistant referee's throat".

United believe their player was innocent and the Scottish Football Association were angered by the referees' union making their public statement before viewing the disciplinary panel's judgement, although the rationale has not subsequently changed the union's opinion.

And Lennon said: "They can't have it both ways. If they want to explain their side of it in this case then they should have to explain a lot of things after games.

"We want to protect referees as well because they are human beings and they are liable to make mistakes as we all are.

"This is one of the reasons why they are reluctant to come out and explain things after games because they leave themselves open to widespread criticism. But they can't have it both ways."

Lennon was at the heart of the strike by match officials three years ago after asking for an explanation over Dougie McDonald's decision to rescind a penalty he awarded to Celtic during a game at Tannadice.

"We asked for clarification three years ago and we are still in the same boat three years later," he said.

However, Lennon believes referees are well respected by managers and protected by the SFA, and he believes matters have improved since that withdrawal of labour in November 2010.

"I don't think it's as severe, the pressure and exposure, they were under two or three years ago," Lennon said.

"I don't think there has been too much controversy over the last two or three years. There have been a few spats but you get that in every country."

Lennon did not want to give his opinion on the punishment handed to Ciftci given he was not aware of the details of the case.

Lennon said: "While I understand some people thinking the ban is too lenient, you have got to take each individual case on its own merit.

"We talked to the compliance officer last year about the excessive bans that befall managers.

"Some managers were getting eight-game bans and can't do their job properly. We felt that was way over the top. Whether they have taken that into consideration, I don't know."

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