NEIL LENNON says that criticism of Odsonne Edouard for his ‘Panenka’ penalty in Sunday’s Scottish Cup Final is “complete and utter nonsense”.

Pundit and former Rangers player Neil McCann had labelled the Frenchman as ‘disrespectful’ for chipping the ball past former teammate Craig Gordon from the spot, with the keeper himself subsequently being booked for throwing the ball at the celebrating Celtic players in anger.

But Lennon has dismissed the furore around his striker, and says he would never dream of discouraging such freedom of expression in the future.

“What, you want me to caution Odsonne for scoring a penalty in a cup final?” Lennon said. “Come on.

“The Panenka has been around since 1976. I have seen great players doing it, I have seen (Andrea) Pirlo doing it against England. I don’t remember any of those individuals getting actually criticised or being called disrespectful. It’s just complete and utter nonsense.

“Listen, I have seen players blast it over the bar, I have seen players hit the post, I have seen players scuff it, I have seen players miss penalties – I have seen Odsonne miss a penalty this year already. I have seen goalies making good saves.

“That’s his way at that moment of assessing the situation and executing it, so he has my full blessing to do whatever he wants as long as it hits the net.

“You cannot ask anyone to warn a player after he has scored a really beautiful goal in a really important game in a cup final, ‘Don’t do that again Odsonne, because some people think it’s disrespectful’.”

Meanwhile, Lennon says he may have to freshen up his side for tonight’s match against Ross County with a few of his players left struggling after a gruelling 120 minutes at Hampden at the weekend.

“Browny (Scott Brown) probably won’t be available,” he said. (Shane) Duffy is a doubt as well.

“(Olivier) Ntcham is back training after a thigh injury. There might be a couple missing tonight from Sunday but they should be okay again for Boxing Day.”