Lennon facing 17-game ban over latest run-in with ref

Neil Lennon could land a whopping 17-match touchline ban if the SFA throw the book at him following his latest clash with referees.

The Celtic boss faces the prospect of watching half of next season from the stands with the SFA set to hit him with his fifth rap in as many weeks.

Lennon, who will appear before a judicial panel on three different charges on Thursday, is in further trouble following Sunday’s 2-1 defeat by Hearts.

He looks set to be censured after running on to the pitch to confront ref Euan Norris after Hearts were given a late penalty.

And Lennon faces another charge for later tweeting he has become the victim of a personal vendetta by Scotland’s referees.

He also left himself open to perhaps more serious sanctions by re-tweeting a comment from a Celtic supporter which claimed the league was run “by crooked SFA officials”.

Each offence could lead to a four-match ban.

The first case Lennon, who was up in front of the beaks three times last term, has to answer relates to the League Cup Final defeat by Kilmarnock. He branded Willie Collum’s decision to book Anthony Stokes for diving instead of awarding a penalty “shocking and criminal”.

The SFA offered him a two-match ban after that outburst but Lennon has chosen to contest it.

An alleged half-time bust-up with ref Calum Murray at Ibrox then saw the Celtic boss charged with misconduct, acting aggressively and using abusing and insulting language.

Punishments on offer range from a three to a five-match ban but Celtic believe they can have this Old Firm misconduct charge dismissed.

Record Sport understands conflicting reports have been submitted by Murray and fourth official Iain Brines that will question the validity of their version of events.

A third charge came the following week when Lennon called for a “strong referee” to take charge of his team’s home clash with St Johnstone. This alleged breach of Rule 69 could see him hit with a further two-game ban.