Neil Lennon: Craig Levein has sympathy for dismissed Hibs boss

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Neil Lennon is sent to the stand by referee Kevin Clancy
Neil Lennon was sent to the stand by referee Kevin Clancy on Saturday

Hearts manager Craig Levein says he has sympathy with Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon, who was sent to the stand on Saturday.

Lennon, 46, was dismissed during Hibs' draw with Kilmarnock, in which Killie were awarded a controversial penalty.

"I have been there once or twice myself," said Levein, 53.

"It's a pressurised job. When you are standing on that touchline you have the weight of the world on your shoulders."

Kilmarnock had halved their two-goal deficit when Kevin Clancy awarded them a spot-kick after a shot from the edge of the area had struck the arm of Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous.

Kris Boyd's effort from 12 yards was saved, but the striker knocked home the rebound to seal a 2-2 draw.

Former Celtic and Bolton boss Lennon said the penalty award was "a scandalous decision" and could face further punishment, with the incident likely to be referred to the Scottish FA's compliance officer.

Levein highlighted the pressure on managers owing to "expectations from the boardroom to the supporters"

"If the game is on TV then everybody that is watching," Levein said.

"So, it's a difficult place to be and at times it's not easy to keep your head. I have a degree of sympathy.

"The scrutiny has increased. The amount of cameras and interest and the amount of money has helped the game financially [but] has put more and pressure on everybody.

Craig Levein
Levein says he has been "on the wrong side of a lot of decisions"

"It's put pressure on players, on managers and on referees. So the scrutiny is much greater."

Lennon was critical of referee standards this season and Levein added: "The referees generally do their best, and sometimes they make mistakes.

"Some years they make more than others and it happens.

"I feel I've been on the wrong side of a lot of decisions in football, but there has to be something in place that keeps it all civilised and we all know that."

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