Neil Lennon admits he needs clarification about why ex-players are not involved in the VAR decision-making process.

The former Celtic manager revealed that he cannot understand why those who once played the game to the highest levels' opinions and expertise are not sought out when it comes to VAR. Lennon watched from the Sky Sports studios as Celtic lost 2-0 to Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday with VAR being the dubious star of the show in a highly controversial match.

Brendan Rodgers labelled referee Don Robertson and VAR official John Beaton's handling of proceedings in the capital as 'incompetence' and insisted he was 'worried' about the state of the game in Scotland. Lennon also reckons that both Robertson and Beaton got all three big calls - Yung Hyun-Jun's red card and penalties for Celtic and Hearts - wrong on the day.

He believes it's high time former professionals were consulted in the process. However, he is well aware that players of former clubs will have their reputations called into question due to conscious and unconscious bias.

Lennon said: "I think they (Robertson and Beaton) got them all wrong, apart from the offside against Lawrence Shankland.

"I don’t think Celtic’s was a penalty, I don’t think it was a red card for Yang either because there’s no real intent. He’s not going with any real force, he’s trying to flick the ball over Cochrane’s head. People have cited the Olusanya incident at St Mirren in the New Year. That's totally different. Olusanya was out of control and caught Joe Hart flush in the face whereas Yang’s just trying to knock it over Cochrane’s head. I don’t even know if he sees Cochrane coming until late.

"You can twist things to come to any conclusion but I thought Don got it right at the time, I thought ‘Yeah it’s a yellow card’. It’s not endangering the player. They’ve had time to deliberate over it to come to that decision 16 minutes into the game and it makes the game very difficult for Celtic after it. I think Don got that decision right first of all. Then the penalty Hearts got was embarrassing. Alistair Johnston has come in the back of Iwata, he's got his eyes closed and the ball hits him on the arm. You know from the natural reaction of players - you didn’t see anyone claiming at the time.

"So to come to that conclusion…. There’s nothing wrong with VAR, there’s nothing wrong with technology. It is the decision-making that’s wrong, the individual human decision-making. My view is that they should get ex-players involved to give them a hand with it. Even in England, they should have ex-players in Stockley Park for these decisions to give an interpretation of what they see. Is there intent? No. Is it high? Yeah, yellow card and get on with the game. If you look at stills they can look like anything. It had a big impact on the game, there’s no question about that.

"I don’t know why there is resistance to ex-players being involved with VAR. It’s not like we’re always right but we can give a players’ perspective on it. Or a coach’s take on it. As long as there’s no bias there. I’ve called penalties for Rangers this season, like the handball against Johnston in the last derby game and the goal that was disallowed at Ibrox wasn’t a foul on Gustaf Lagerbielke. Some of us are quite dispassionate about it. You may get it where there is an unconscious bias but I think ex-players should be involved to give referees a hand in that case because VAR is spoiling the game. My opinion on VAR is the same. The technology is right, it’s the implementation.

"You can bend the rules anyway you want to get the decision. We talk about common sense and then there are the laws of the game but they seem to be two different things."

Celtic Way: Neil Lennon

Lennon also revealed that Rodgers's scathing post-match criticism of Beaton, in particular, didn't sit well with him. However, he feels that this may have been the settling of some old scores. The 52-year-old was also puzzled as to why Robertson refused to stick by his original decisions that he had witnessed in real-time.

Lennon said: "I’m a little bit uncomfortable about that but it’s not for me to say. That’s for other people to maybe take him (Rodgers) to one side and have a word with him on it.

"There’s a history between Brendan and John from one of the games at Ibrox a few years ago and he’s emotional after the game but again, it’s Don’s decision, ultimately. John’s just told him to come and have a look at the incident. I understand why Brendan was angry.

"Listen, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and I’m the last person to be criticising anyone for comments after a game. So Brendan's upset and annoyed because it had a huge bearing on a very important game, psychologically as well going forward. The bottom line is there’s no damage done, all it does is give the opposition a bit of encouragement.

"It’s up to Don. I don’t know how much influence the pictures would’ve had on him but as an outsider looking in, I think he got them wrong and I think the offside against Shankland was borderline as well."

Lennon knows exactly what it takes to get the Scottish Premiership title over the line having been there, seen it and done it as a manager.

Whilst his former club can harbour a sense of injustice at the VAR events that unfolded in Tynecastle on Sunday, Lennon insists that Celtic needs to use it as fuel to spur them on over the next nine games of the campaign because Rodgers's side haven't been firing on all cylinders for large parts of the season.

Lennon said: "I understand again where Brendan was coming from after the Motherwell game, they have got to write their own story. If people are writing them off that’s a good thing for me.

"You use that as fuel, you use it as a motivation. There are nine games to go, there are two Celtic v Rangers games to come which will be pivotal. Celtic have got to find more consistency in their performances. In the first half at Motherwell, they were very flat but, played well in the second half. They’ve dismantled Dundee in midweek so they’ve shown their power. Then on Sunday, I felt it was a bit flat again but you’ve got to give Hearts a huge amount of credit because they’re having a cracking season.

"From Celtic’s point of view, they’ve got to double down, take the VAR element out of it and play well enough that we’re not talking about referees at the end of the game."

Meanwhile, Lennon insists that the loss of captain Callum McGregor created a massive void that his former club couldn't fill during the 2-0 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday.

Celtic failed to go back to the top of the Premiership table after Rangers surprise 1-2 loss to Motherwell at Ibrox on Saturday. Rodgers's men still trail Philippe Clement's side by two points in the title race with nine games to go.

However, Lennon is convinced that McGregor's absence in the capital due to an Achilles and calf injury hurt Celtic big time.

Lennon said: "Callum McGregor was a huge miss. He was massive on Sunday. Celtic missed his influence when he was there. People take him for granted. He’s so good, so experienced, so game-intelligent.

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"That was all missing from Celtic against Hearts. He needs to get back asap. They have got a couple of games coming up where you’d look and think they should be O.K., then they’ve got the international break, and you’re hoping he’ll be fit after that. I was talking to him after Sunday’s game and he didn’t think he was going to be out for too long. Celtic needs him back ASAP. He’s a top player and every Celtic team would want a Callum McGregor in it, especially at this stage of the season.

The 52-year-old admits that he is relishing every bit of the title run-in as Celtic and Rangers slug it out in the race for the flag.

He said: "You’ve got to give Rangers a huge amount of credit because they’ve been so consistent up until Saturday. The Motherwell result was so unexpected. You’ve seen Rangers go to Kilmarnock, go a goal down and you think, ‘Ok., let’s see what you’ve got’ and they come back.

"They lost that little bit of momentum on Saturday but Celtic lost it on Sunday. It’s compelling to watch, no question."

Neil Lennon was promoting Viaplay's live and exclusive coverage of Celtic v Livingston and Hibernian v Rangers on Sunday. Viaplay is available to stream from or via your TV provider on Sky, Virgin TV, and Amazon Prime as an add-on subscription.