Former Celtic boss condemns ‘reckless endangerment’ of keeper Joe Hart for Livingston red card
The Hoops returned to winning ways in West Lothian but Hart’s dismissal was a major talking point.
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Neil Lennon has slammed Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart for endangering an opponent after he was shown a straight red card for the first time in his career during Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Livingston.
The Hoops No.1 was given his marching orders in the first half by referee John Beaton at the Tony Macaroni Arena for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity after rushing out of his box and wiping out Mohammed Sangare, who was through on goal.
The Livi midfielder got to the ball first before Hart clattered into him in mid-air, with Sangare momentarily staying down after the rash challenge. VAR official Steven McLean reviewed the incident and and supported Beaton’s original decision.
Celtic were leading at the time through Reo Hatate’s penalty before Hart’s dismissal, but it didn’t seem to phase the visitors who added another two goals after the break thanks to Matt O’Riley and a sublime Daizen Maeda finish.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Lennon agreed with the call to send the former England and Manchester City stopper off, but claims Hart could have been helped out by his two central defenders who failed to track Sangare’s run.
He stated: “It’s reckless from Joe. he’s fully committed but you just can’t make a challenge like that. That could have been for reckless endangerment of a player as well.
“If you look at (Liam) Scales, he’s not in line with (Gustaf) Lagerbielke. It’s a clear red card. Sangare gets a touch and Joe takes him clean out.”
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was hard-pressed for his verdict on the incident post-match, admitting he had sympathy for Hart after the Scottish champions were dealt a THIRD sending off in the space of five days.
The Northern Irishman, who will be without his first-choice kkeeper for next week’s trip to face Motherwell at Fir Park, responded: “We lose Joe which I think is his first ever sending off in his career, so we obviously had a plan for that going down to 10 men and how we want to work.
“It was one of those awkward ones - it pops up on the pitch and it is difficult for Joe. Obviously, sometimes that will bounce and then skid through. So the referee has made the decision on him.”