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Page last updated at 23:28 GMT, Thursday, 3 March 2011

Scottish FA cuts Neil Lennon's ban to four games

Craig Thomson sends Neil Lennon to the Tynecastle stand
Craig Thomson sends Neil Lennon to the Tynecastle stand in November

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has had a touchline ban reduced from six matches to four following an appeal at Hampden.

Lennon had been banned for "excessive misconduct" following an altercation with fourth official Steven McLean in an away defeat by Hearts last November.

His club said they were "surprised and extremely disappointed" in January when the six-match ban was imposed.

Now, having considered Celtic's case, the Scottish FA's Appeals Board has reduced the ban term to four matches.

A statement by the SFA issued on Thursday evening said: "The Appeals Board has tonight found that the Scottish FA's charge of excessive misconduct against the Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, was inevitable.

"However, they set aside the original sanction of a two-match automatic suspension plus a further four matches for excessive misconduct and have imposed a new sanction of an automatic two-match suspension and an additional two matches.

"The new sanction will be imposed with immediate effect."

The decision means Lennon will be forced to sit in the stand when Celtic play host to Hamilton in the Scottish Premier League on Saturday, at Inverness in the Scottish Cup quarter-final on 13 March, at Celtic Park when Hibs are the SPL visitors three days later, then at Hampden for the Co-operative Insurance Cup final against Rangers on 20 March.

Celtic were represented at the Hampden hearing by Paul McBride QC.

When announcing that they planned to appeal, the club had said they felt that Lennon's punishment was "excessive and unprecedented for a first offence".

Lennon could be set to receive another ban for his part in the altercation with Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist at Celtic Park on Wednesday night after his team's 1-0 Scottish Cup fifth-round replay win.

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see also
Lennon defuses spat with McCoist
03 Mar 11 |  Celtic
Lennon 'censured' for ref remarks
17 Jan 11 |  Celtic
Peat angry at 'tiresome' Celtic
12 Jan 11 |  Scotland
Celtic boss given six-match ban
11 Jan 11 |  Celtic
Lennon ban hearing delayed again
17 Dec 10 |  Celtic
SPL survives referee withdrawals
27 Nov 10 |  Scottish Premier
Scottish referees vote to strike
21 Nov 10 |  Scottish Premier
Lennon defends touchline conduct
12 Nov 10 |  Celtic

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