Hibernian 1-2 Rangers: Neil Lennon livid with 'unacceptable' penalty decision

Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon vents his frustration
Neil Lennon watched his Hibernian side squander numerous chances in their defeat by Rangers

Neil Lennon insists his Hibernian side were denied a "clear penalty" in a "totally unacceptable" decision by officials in their 2-1 loss to Rangers.

Hibs were made to pay for their profligacy, squandering numerous chances as they dominated proceedings.

But with the Gers ahead in the second half, defender David Bates used his left arm to control a bouncing cross.

"It's a clear penalty. It's the clearest hand-ball you will see this season," Lennon told BBC Scotland.

"The linesman's looking right at it. I've just had a word with him and he said he didn't think it was a penalty. He must've been the only one in the ground. It's totally unacceptable."

Lewis Stevenson's deflected strike had the Easter Road men ahead after nine minutes, but a quick-fire double from Josh Windass and Alfredo Morelos turned the game on its head in the closing stages of the first half.

David Bates controls a Hibs cross with his left arm
David Bates handled the ball in the Rangers penalty area

Martin Boyle, Paul Hanlon and Simon Murray all passed up big opportunities for the hosts, while replacement Brandon Barker struck the post twice.

"We were sensational tonight, and we thoroughly deserved to get something from the game," Lennon added.

"I can't believe we've lost it but sometimes you don't get the luck. We've absolutely pumped Rangers second half, and I didn't even think we deserved to draw the game, let alone lose it."

'Ofir will be disappointed'

Lennon conceded goalkeeper Ofir Marciano ought to have prevented both Rangers goals.

The Israeli stopper was slow to get down to save Windass's low effort across the face of his goal, and stepped off his line to allow Morelos a sight of the net from a tight angle.

Paul Hanlon cuts a dejected figure after losing to Rangers
Lennon says Hibs feel 'a sense of injustice' after their defeat

"The goalkeeper will be disappointed with his performance," Lennon said. "He's only really had to deal with two or three shots on target.

"He shouldn't get beat with the first one, and he definitely shouldn't get beat with the second one. He's actually guessing, and that's disappointing and he knows that.

"However, he's been excellent for us since he's come in."

'I need to look at my strikers'

Hibs, who drew with Celtic on Sunday, face a trip to Aberdeen on Saturday in a gruelling week that features clashes with each of the Scottish Premiership's top three.

Lennon, 46, wants to see more ruthlessness from his strikers, who failed to turn home a number of dangerous crosses from Barker and fellow winger Martin Boyle.

"The two wingers were unplayable, absolutely unbelievable," he said. "But I need to look at my strikers - Simon's missed a tap-in; he needs to score that.

Simon Murray shows his frustration after passing up a big chance for Hibernian to equalise
Four yards out, Simon Murray failed to connect with a fizzed low cross from Martin Boyle

"The amount of balls we flashed across the face of goal from the two wingers was incredible - it just needed someone to get on the end of one, and the game's ours.

"We worked the ball brilliantly into wide areas, put great balls across the goal, and they're begging to be put in.

"Concentration at both ends of the park (was a problem for Hibs), but in the throes of the game we were absolutely magnificent, the football was breathtaking at times.

"I'm really happy with the level of performance, and there's a sense of injustice that we haven't got something, but we'll get ready for Aberdeen and look forward to that."

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