Ex-Bristol City manager Lee Johnson sees red as former Sunderland player celebrates in his face

By Richard Forrester

Former Bristol City manager Lee Johnson had a memorable evening for all the wrong reasons after he was sent to the stands in Sunderland's 3-1 defeat to Lincoln City.

A late touchline melee, sparked by a lunge from the Black Cats' Callum Doyle, was only half of the drama with Chris Maguire enjoying the last laugh over his former coach.

The Lincoln striker was in inspired form on his return to the Stadium of Light, scoring all three goals and was quick to remind Johnson what he was missing.

After scoring his first of the night, Maguire initially held his hands to the air in a respectful gesture towards his old club after making 125 appearances on Wearside.

A brief second later, all inhibitions were out the window as he sprinted directly towards Johnson and celebrated gleefully in front of his face.

Maguire would add his second from the penalty spot before rounding off his hat-trick with 15 minutes left on the clock to hamper Sunderland's League One promotion bid.

Johnson allowed Maguire to leave the club on a free transfer last summer after freezing him out of the first-team during the second half of the season.

The 40-year-old, who spent just over four years at Ashton Gate, refused to criticise Maguire's actions at the full-time whistle.

Speaking to Sky Sports, via the Chronicle, he said: "It's not really for me to comment - you'd have to ask Maguire himself. When a player is at the club you pick an honest team, you don't hold grudges, and players sometimes move on which is part of the game.

"For me, you simply pick players - (Elliot) Embleton, (Alex) Pritchard - based on your belief in those individuals. Today he [Maguire] has had his day, and good luck to him."

Regarding his red card, Johnson added: "I thought it was high tackle from Callum. It wasn't the best tackle in the world.

"Obviously when there is an 18-year-old lad, albeit a big lad, getting picked on right in front of me, I felt it was right to try and prevent and defend. The craziness is that I got sent off and nobody else did.

"I have to be accountable for my actions and I will be, and I will take any punishment on the chin."

Maguire also accused Johnson of trying to get him sent off after he picked up a yellow card in the first half.

"I thought I was hard done by in my time here - it didn't end the way I wanted to," Maguire told Sky Sports. "I got a yellow card early on, and I looked over he [Johnson] was trying to get me sent off.

"It worked in the favour of us - because at the end of the day he's been sent up the tunnel.

"I can't tell you what I said but I think I did my talking on the pitch.

"It was just a bit of tongue-in-cheek for my last six months here. It ended badly for me."

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