Hibernian: Neil Lennon angry with SFA over 'playing Ryan Porteous while injured'

Ryan Porteous in action for Scotland U21s v England at the Toulon Tournament
Ryan Porteous started three of Scotland's five games in Toulon, including the semi-final with England

Neil Lennon has criticised the Scottish FA over Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous' participation in this summer's age-grade Toulon Tournament.

Hibs boss Lennon alleges Porteous was fielded by Scotland Under-21s in their semi-final loss to England despite carrying knee cartilage damage.

He says the teenage defender has been unable to participate in pre-season training since returning from France.

"I'm not happy with the SFA over the treatment of Ryan Porteous," he said.

"He's not been fit since [the Toulon Tournament]. He had a scan while he was out there, it showed a tear in his cartilage; they still played him two games after that.

"I have had no contact from anyone at the SFA explaining why my player played with a tear in his cartilage and he's missed all of pre-season. I'm not happy about that."

Porteous, 19, captained Hibs to the Development League and Scottish Youth Cup double last term, and earned his first-team debut.

Ryan Porteous in action for Hibernian against Rangers
Ryan Porteous featured in Hibs' 2-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox during February

He started three of Scotland's five tournament fixtures - their group stage draw with Togo and win over South Korea, as well as the 3-1 defeat to England suffered by Scot Gemmill's side.

The SFA insists Hibs were kept fully informed over Porteous.

"It goes without saying that we want to return every player who represents Scotland back to their club in the best possible condition," said a spokesperson.

"We employ very experienced medical staff who provide the highest level of care to the players to the standards expected by their profession and the medical bodies. Importantly, we only select players who we feel are fit to play.

"It wouldn't be right for us to divulge any personal medical information about Ryan, or indeed any other player. But we can say that in this instance, we were in contact with Hibernian continuously throughout, and after, the tournament via our medical team and their counterparts at the club. This is standard practice at international level.

"All of our medical notes and information have been shared with the club and we will continue our dialogue with them directly in relation to Ryan and any other Hibernian players who are on Scotland duty in the future."

Neil Lennon speaks to the media on Wednesday
Lennon will start the season watching his side from the stands

Lennon was also irked by the three-match ban he received for his conduct at the end of Hibs' 5-5 draw with Rangers in May.

The Northern Irishman was banned for one match for his aeroplane-style celebrations as Hibs equalised late in the game, which triggered a two-game suspended sentence from the previous season.

"I'm not happy with the ban," Lennon added. "There was a suspension which would kick in but the extra game, I thought common sense would have prevailed."

Hibs begin their Europa League qualifying campaign at Easter Road on Thursday with the visit of Faroese side NSI Runavik.

Lennon will be watching from the stand, since he is halfway through a four-game European touchline ban incurred two years ago, following Hibs' defeat by Brondby.

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