Neil Lennon has rubbished suggestions that Scott Brown should be punished for his role in the flashpoints that marred Celtic’s win against Rangers at the weekend.
His opposite number Steve Gerrard singled the Celtic skipper out for provoking Alfredo Morelos’ red card in the first half and celebrating the win at full-time in front of the Rangers support.
Andy Halliday received a second yellow card for his response to that incident directly after the match.
But Lennon felt Brown didn’t get the protection he should have from the match officials during the fiery clash at Parkhead.
"He's been elbowed [by Morelos] and then pushed or punched in the face by another player and really Rangers should have been down to nine men," he said.
"Ryan Kent, after we scored the second goal, has either slapped or punched him in the face and it's just unacceptable at this level of football."
Lennon has been impressed with Brown’s form since he took over from Brendan Rodgers in February.
There were fears that the 33 year-old might have moved on in the January transfer window, with Australia touted as a likely destination.
But Lennon sees the midfielder as central to the club’s future.
“He’s a great captain, a great leader and in games like that you really need him,” he said.
“I’m really glad for everyone he stayed, but for him especially. He’s settled down and is playing some great football at the minute.
“He’s very experienced, he knows the psychology of these big games more than anybody so you just leave him to it.
“If he walks on a tight line, then so be it. Some of us did. He knows the boundaries to work within and he played brilliantly again on Sunday.”
Rangers winger Ryan Kent faces a two-match ban after being cited for lashing out at Brown, it was confirmed this evening.