Neil Lennon returned to the dugout and straight back into the spotlight with comments about the Scottish Football Association's apparent leniency in dealing with Rangers.

The Celtic boss was handed a four-match ban by the SFA for his touchline spat with Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist at the end of the Hoops' Scottish Cup fifth-round replay win at Parkhead on March 2. McCoist successfully appealed against his two-match ban and Paul McBride QC, who represented Lennon at Hampden and got his suspension effectively reduced to one game, claimed the ruling body was now the "laughing stock of world football".

Lennon treaded carefully when asked about McBride's comments following the 1-0 win at St Johnstone, saying: "That is Paul's opinion. He is not speaking on behalf of the club or myself but obviously Paul is someone I respect and admire very much and if he is saying that then there might be a lot of other people thinking that as well."

The Northern Irishman, who watched his side go five points clear of Rangers at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League courtesy of a Beram Kayal goal, asked the media to make up their own mind about the fairness of the SFA's decision.

"It is interesting that out of the fallout of the 'shame game' as people called it, I am the one who got punished and three other people got let off," he said.

 

"Would there have been any point me appealing? No. That's why I didn't appeal. I can't comment on a lot of things otherwise I will be back where I was last week (in the stand).

"But if you have any media integrity at all you will call it as it is. I will keep my counsel for another time."

St Johnstone boss Derek McInnes saw his side finish the game with 10 men after substitute Chris Millar came off with a groin injury after all three replacements had been used ahead of Saturday's Scottish Cup semi-final against Motherwell at Hampden Park.

He said: "We hope Chris is okay. Peter Enckelman had a bit of fluid in his knee but he will be fine as well.

"We tried to be as strong as we possibly could without putting us at risk on Saturday and hopefully we got the balance right and if we get the result at Hampden it will be worth it."

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