Neil Lennon has hit back at Loic Damour’s King Broony claim and insisted the Hearts man is talking nonsense.
The Jambos midfielder accused Celtic skipper Scott Brown of having power over referees in Scotland in the wake of Wednesday’s 2-0 win for the champions at Tynecastle.
Damour said: “Apparently Brown is like the king of the league because he can do whatever he wants on the pitch and the ref never says anything.”
But Lennon defended his captain and insisted Damour was out of order as it was Hearts players who were let off the hook for targeting his main man in Gorgie.
The Hoops boss said: “King of the league? Browny’s fine – he’s wearing a toga and being fanned and fed grapes by a bevvy of beauties!
“There were a lot of things going on at Tynecastle. Scott was on a booking and they were doing all they could to get him sent off.
“I thought he kept his discipline brilliantly. I wasn’t overly enamoured with Bobby Madden’s performance that night but he is a top referee and Browny doesn’t referee these games, the officials do.
“It’s a ludicrous comment from a player who’s probably been in Scotland for about three months.
“I thought Browny was fantastic in that second half.
“We’d told him to be careful because he has been cautioned but he was majestic, if you’ll pardon the use of that word. He’s been outstanding all season.
“Look, it just doesn’t happen in football that players make the big calls. Browny doesn’t influence referees – he influences matches through his play and his reading of the game.
“He was booked for a challenge against Hearts, which is fine, that’s allowed. But there was a lot going on, which you expect at Tynecastle. It was like going back to the old days because it was feisty and physical and a lot of their players were hardly angelic.”
Lennon has no issue with his skipper questioning officials but he refuses to accept Brown has any added sway in Scotland.
Instead the Celts boss insisted the captain is one of the most targeted stars in the country – by rivals players and fans – yet managed to rise to the challenge.
Lennon said: “Making points to the referee is part of a captain’s job. I used to do it all the time. But Bobby Madden’s as strong as they come and he won’t be influenced by players. Browny wasn’t barking at him all the time the way I used to be – we’ve moved on from that now.
“In the main, our players are impeccable when it comes to discipline. People have a premeditated perception of Scott before a game even starts and we’ve all been through that. But I think he’s playing as well as ever.
“He enjoys being on the edge after having been booked and it takes away the pressure from the other players.
“He’s very good at that and, to be honest, I’ve rarely seen him lose his temper since I came back. He hasn’t been sent off and I don’t recall any bad challenges from him.
“There’s been a bit of giving it back after games but I think he’s entitled to do that sometimes.”
Brown will lead out the Hoops against Aberdeen today but Jonny Hayes and Mohamed Elyounoussi will miss out, along with Hatem Elhamed, while Boli Bolingoli and Mikey Johnston are available.