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Page last updated at 21:10 GMT, Friday, 18 March 2011

Celtic content at criticism of SFA's George Peat

Simon Neil and James Johnston of rock band Biffy Clyro with George Peat
Peat (centre) stepped out of the meeting to hold a Scottish Cup draw

By Jim Spence

Celtic will not call for George Peat's resignation, despite criticism of the Scottish Football Association president in a judgement from Lord Carloway.

Peat's attendance at a disciplinary hearing for Celtic manager Neil Lennon was held to be "contrary to principles of fair play" after a club appeal.

Lennon was given a six-game touchline ban for excessive misconduct in the game against Hearts in November.

But Celtic sources say they will not call for Peat to stand down.

There had been suggestions that the Glasgow club would target the president once the appeal findings were published.

Celtic were unhappy that Peat, who was not part of the disciplinary committee, was in the room with the four members of the committee while they were considering what punishment to hand out to Lennon.

It had been argued by the SFA that Peat had no involvement in the decision-making process and was simply there as an observer and, at one stage, the president left the room to take part in the Scottish Cup draw.

It is quite contrary to British principles of fair play that any person outside the members of the tribunal itself should be present

Lord Carloway

Paul McBride QC, representing Celtic, argued that Peat should not have been there at all as a matter of procedure and natural justice.

Now the full written findings of the appeal have been published, giving the reasons why the original decision was set aside, resulting in Lennon's ban being reduced from six to four games.

"The problem, which the board considered to be an insurmountable one in terms of the perceived fairness of the committee's decision, relates to the presence of the president during the private deliberations of its members," said Lord Carloway.

"It must be stressed that the board has no material upon which to conclude that the president attempted to influence the committee's decision.

"In this regard, the board does not criticise in any way the president's good faith. However, the principle of justice being seen to be done is an important one, especially in disciplinary procedures.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon in the stand
Lennon is currently serving a touchline suspension

"It is quite contrary to British principles of fair play that any person outside the members of the tribunal itself should be present when the members are deliberating.

"Although the president did not have any interest directly adverse to the appellant, it would nevertheless have been preferable if he had not been present at the deliberation stage.

"The board should add that, if it is answered that the president was himself a member of the committee, he would then fall foul of the principle that a member of a tribunal, who has not heard the whole case, should not participate, or be perceived as participating, in the decision-making process.

"For this reason alone, and despite its other findings that the hearing had been an entirely fair and just one, the board considered that it had no alternative but to set aside the committee's decision."

Meanwhile, Celtic will continue to fight vigorously the SFA's decision to make Lennon's current four-match ban consecutive to his previous suspension, as opposed to concurrent.

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see also
Police brief Old Firm's finalists
18 Mar 11 |  Scottish Cups
Mjallby credits Celtic endeavour
20 Mar 11 |  Celtic
SFA pursues eight-game Lennon ban
17 Mar 11 |  Celtic
Lennon remarks result in SFA fine
17 Mar 11 |  Celtic
SFA to speed disciplinary system
17 Mar 11 |  Scottish Premier
Rangers will contest McCoist ban
16 Mar 11 |  Rangers
SFA cuts Lennon ban to four games
03 Mar 11 |  Celtic
Peat angry at 'tiresome' Celtic
12 Jan 11 |  Scotland
Celtic boss given six-match ban
11 Jan 11 |  Celtic

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