NEIL Lennon disputed the first yellow card of his managerial career last night but said he is delighted the rules have been changed to allow coaches and managers to be warned in this manner rather than sent straight to the stands.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) this summer allowed match officials to issue cautions to the occupants of the technical area, and the Celtic manager was on the receiving end for the first time yesterday as he protested a little too vehemently in the vicinity of fourth official Bobby Madden after referee Greg Aitken awarded a controversial late penalty against Scott Brown for a tackle on Kilmarnock substitute Osman Sow. Fraser Forster saved Alan Power’s penalty in any case as Celtic racked up the 3-1 win which saw them stay three points clear of Rangers at the top of the Premiership table.

“I was a bit disappointed [with the penalty] but I’m not going to criticise the referee for that,” said Lennon. “I was not happy with the yellow card because I just reacted the same way any other manager would have. But overall, I thought the referee was fine.

“It [the yellow] is great,” he added. “It’s like a warning to calm down. It’s fine - I’ve no issue with that at all. Bobby is a great official. I was talking recently about not losing my temper. I didn’t lose it that badly but you get a warning and that’s it. I was voicing my opinion to the fourth official, maybe a bit demonstrably and you’re not allowed to do that anymore, but there’s no real issue there at all.”

Lennon hailed his team afterwards for “an absolutely superb performance”, despite late injury worries over new boys Moritz Bauer and Christopher Jullien. The former went off with an ankle injury and the latter appeared to tweak a hamstring but Lennon was looking on the bright side last night. Goalscorers Odsonne Edouard, with two, Ryan Christie and James Forrest were the star performers.

“Bauer is a trauma,” said Lennon. “He got a bang and twisted his ankle and Hatem coming on was fine. Christopher was feeling his hamstring. We don’t know yet, it’s too early to say but we think it will be fine.

“But it’s a great performance against a very good team who don’t concede much,” said Lennon. “I thought their goalkeeper [Laurentiu Branescu] made some world class saves. The one for [Olivier] Ntcham just after half-time, I thought it was in, it was just a brilliant save. I’m getting everything I want from this team at the minute. Off the back of a really good performance in Rennes on Thursday night, they have cemented to league form with a brilliant display today.”

There was a minute's applause for the late Fernando Ricksen pre-match, with former owner Fergus McCann a popular a visitor to the ground he built yesterday, complete with trademark bunnet – certainly more popular than he was on the day he unfurled the title flag after stopping nine-in-a-row back in August 1998. He drew a cheer from the 57,137 crowd when he said Celtic could complete nine-in-a-row this year, then do it all over again. “I watch from afar and I see the team growing and getting better every day, every week, every game, every season," said the Canadian businessman. "I am with you for nine more in a row."