PAUL Heckingbottom has claimed that Kevin Clancy let everyone at Hibs down when he failed to dismiss Celtic's Olivier Ntcham for raising his hands in a tussle with Josh Vela during the 1-1 Premiership draw between the two sides at Easter Road yesterday.

The Englishman, who had already been sent to the stands by then for confronting fourth official Nick Walsh in the wake of Celtic's controversial equaliser, was incensed that the match official decided to book both players even though Vela seemed to be on the receiving end of a stiff arm to the throat from the Parkhead side's French midfielder.

While Celtic too were left harbouring a grievance against the match official, who also ignored two presentable penalty claims from the Parkhead side, Heckingbottom insisted it would have been a different match had Celtic been reduced to ten men by then.

“He [Ntcham] should have been sent off three times,” said Heckingbottom. “For the three punches. That is the biggest injustice of the lot. Everybody has been let down by that, everyone. All the supporters, all the players, everyone connected with the club.

“Listen, there is an incident, a couple of arms thrown," he added. "He can claim he hasn’t seen it fine but the fact he is actually stood right there between the two players when the third one comes in on the end of his chin, so you tell me why it isn’t a sending off?

“Everyone can see it, everyone. I am up in the back of the stand in the top row and I can see it. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone has bad games. But there was something different about that. That wasn’t right.”

Heckingbottom, who regretted kicking a water bottle which inadvertently struck an assistant referee, revealed that he was sent to the stands for using a swear word towards the fourth official as he remonstrated with him for awarding a foul against Adam Jackson for a phantom foul on James Forrest which Clancy himself ignored. Amid chaotic scenes some Hibs players thought play had stopped for an injury and would be continuing with a drop ball. "The red card was for confronting the fourth official, like I say because it was him who gave that goal," he said. "There was a swear word in there.”

His opposite number Neil Lennon meanwhile said he would have a “quiet word” with Ntcham in relation to the first half incident – but said he was mystified that the match official didn’t award either of two glaring late penalty shouts, one for a Lewis Stevenson challenge on Ryan Christie, and one for a Darryl Horgan challenge on Moritz Bauer, which inflicted an ankle injury on the Austrian.

“While I’m not here to criticise referees, we should have had two clear cut penalties, not one - two!” said the Northern Irishman. “I shouldn’t need to speak to the referee about, ‘Kevin, that’s a penalty’. The linesman is right there, 15 yards away. Daryl Horgan has taken out Bauer as he’s gone to cross it and Stevenson has taken out Christie as he’s gone to cross it. It’s two penalties, at least give us one.”

Ryan Christie’s header equalised an early Kris Ajer own goal as the champions dropped points on league business for the first time this season. "Our finishing and that little bit of snap in the final third wasn’t there for some reason but it was a good performance and I’m not going to criticise the players," said Lennon. “It’s impossible to win every game."