Neil Lennon stresses Rangers 'guilt' over undisclosed player payments

• Celtic manager holds fire on full-blown assault
• 'I've got my views but will save them for another time'

Neil Lennon has stressed the "guilt" of Rangers in relation to undisclosed payments between the years of 2000 and 2011, despite an investigation stopping short of stripping the Ibrox club of their titles.

An independent commission convened by the Scottish Premier League, which published its findings on Thursday, fined the company that ran Rangers prior to liquidation £250,000. That related to the non-disclosure of payments to players to the football authorities, when Rangers used an Employee Benefit Trust scheme.

There was no retrospective football penalty issued, though, on the basis no player was illegally registered with the Scottish Football Association. The commission, chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith, also stated that Rangers "did not gain any unfair competitive advantage from the contraventions of the SPL rules."

Lennon said: "They were found guilty. They were found guilty of £47m in non-disclosed payments, whether that gave them a competitive edge or not? The tribunal said it didn't but I've got my own views on that. I will reserve the right to talk about that some other time. I'm sure other people will have their own views on it as well.

"I'm not annoyed at the decision as they were found guilty. But they are not going to get stripped of the titles. I've an opinion on that but I don't think it's the time to give that opinion. What they were guilty of was £47m over 11 years of non-disclosed payments. That's breaching the rules.

"I don't know the ins and outs of it. I was in Manchester all day on Thursday. That's the findings of it. I'm not going to dwell on it for too long."

Lennon did, though, have a dig at Rangers' decision to afford Juventus the use of their training centre before the Italians faced Celtic in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie last month. "We have got two massive games coming up – St Mirren then Juventus in the last 16," said Celtic's manager. "And we're playing Juventus rather than renting out a training pitch for them. I'll say more about it some other time. Now is not the time. We have got a big game to think about and I'd rather concentrate on that.

"We do our business impeccably on and off the field. That's why we're in the position we are and other clubs aren't."

Celtic are looking to recover from Wednesday night's SPL loss at Motherwell when they take on St Mirren in Saturday lunchtime's Scottish Cup quarter-final. St Mirren have already knocked Celtic out of the League Cup.

"We owe the fans a performance after Wednesday night," Lennon said. "I don't want to dwell on the semi-final but I'm sure that will still be fresh in the minds of a lot of players. Regardless of who we are playing, it is a quarter-final. A lot of the season hinges on this game in terms of competitiveness between now and the end of the season."

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