Neil Lennon unhappy that Rangers are to keep league titles

Lennon unhappy that Rangers are to keep league titles despite being found guilty of undisclosed payments

By
Ronnie Esplin

PUBLISHED:

15:54 GMT, 1 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:08 GMT, 1 March 2013

Neil Lennon struggled to hide his unhappiness at the punishment imposed yesterday on oldco Rangers by an independent commission who found the Ibrox club guilty of undisclosed payments to players.

The three-man Scottish Premier League-appointed body – chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith – handed out a fine of 250,000 for not disclosing side-letter arrangements during 2000-2011.

However, the Ibrox club avoided the most severe possible sanction of losing up to five SPL titles won during the period investigated after the commission ruled Rangers 'did not gain any unfair competitive advantage'.

Unhappy: Celtic manager Neil Lennon feels Rangers haven't been punished harshly enough

Unhappy: Celtic manager Neil Lennon feels Rangers haven't been punished harshly enough

Ahead of the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final tie against St Mirren in Paisley tomorrow, the Celtic boss appeared angry when asked about the verdict.

'I only saw some snippets in the paper today, I believe they were found guilty of paying 47million over 11 years in non-disclosed payments.

'Am I surprised at that, no

Rare boost: Ally McCoist has had little reason to celebrate since succeeding Walter Smith as Rangers boss

Rare boost: Ally McCoist has had little reason to celebrate since succeeding Walter Smith as Rangers boss

'As regards the competitive advantage they gained or didn’t gain, a lot of other people will have a say on that, I have my own views on that but I will keep that to myself for now.

'I don’t want to take anything away from what my team and club are doing.

'The way we behave, the way we do our business has been impeccable and that’s the reason why we are in the position we are in now.'

When asked about the belief from
Ibrox that the club were vindicated by the decision, the former Hoops
skipper said: 'Maybe that’s because they got their own way.

'It
wasn’t our fight, it was the SPL, they brought up the tribunal against
Rangers, it doesn’t affect us, we have the quarter-final to prepare for
and we are playing Juventus in the last 16 of the Champions league.'

Focused: Lennon must prepare his side to travel to Juventus in the Champions League

Focused: Lennon must prepare his side to travel to Juventus in the Champions League

Celtic said in a statement they
are 'surprised' by the Scottish Premier League-appointed commission's
conclusion.

The statement continued: 'Throughout
this matter, Celtic has refrained from comment on the affairs of Rangers
FC while the various tribunals and commissions went about their work.

'We will continue to concentrate on
our own affairs, and assure our supporters that at all times we will
operate within both the rules of our governing bodies and the law of the
land.

'Our Club is in a great place at the
moment and we are enjoying a fantastic season, maintaining our position
at the top of Scottish football and enjoying huge success and profile
across European football.

'We ask our fans to unite with us
once again as we look ahead to the rest of the season, to the Scottish
Cup on Saturday, to the UEFA Champions League next week and to an
exciting future with a young squad of high quality players and a
talented manager in Neil Lennon.

'Our fans have been magnificent this
season, home and away, and as we head towards the end of the season,
now, more than ever, we need our fans to be with us and to back the team
and the club. We sincerely thank our fans for their continued support.'