Whistlers can't have it both ways

NEIL LENNON believes that referees would do themselves no favours if they chose to speak out and explain contentious decisions publicly.

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Speaking as whispers spread about potential strike action from whistlers in the wake of Dundee United's Nadir Ciftci's two-match ban - which has been seen as too lenient from the refs - Lennon believes that if referees opt to explain themselves they will be opening a can of worms.

"Managers would love that but then they [the refs] leave themselves open to a lot of criticism," he said.

"I understand why they don't do that because John Fleming wants them protected.

"That's fine, but they can't have it both ways. When things don't go for them they can't say we want our side to be heard.

"But then when managers want an explanation things are not forthcoming.

"If they do that then they are opening themselves up for all sorts. I don't think they should do it - that's my own opinion."

Meanwhile, the Celtic manager has urged the SPFL whistlers away from taking industrial action.

There was talk among the officials of strike action after Ciftci was seen to get off too lightly for putting his hand on assistant referee Gavin Harris' throat.

Refs are believed to be furious at what they regard as a serious offence and there are fears that the chaos of 2010 when they resorted to strike action could resurface.

"I think it would be a bit over the top, a bit extreme to do that," said Lennon.

"Maybe some people felt that the suspension was lenient, but you have to take each case on its own merits.

"Having spoken to Jackie, he felt his player was hard done by so there are two sides to every story.

"You can't lay a hand on officials. Obviously they are there to be respected and protected and maybe they think that the ban is unjust," he continued.

"But I'm sure there are other ways for them to make their feelings known rather than going on strike. It wouldn't be good for the game.

"I don't know the specifics or whether or not he hit him or grabbed him or what it was.

"Obviously the people who set the ban felt it was more than enough and who am I to argue as I don't know the specifics."

Football

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