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Chris Maguire
Chris Maguire ran straight to former boss Lee Johnson after his opener for the Imps

Lincoln City’s Chris Maguire says his goal celebration in front of Sunderland boss Lee Johnson during Tuesday’s 3-1 win stemmed from the disappointing way his time at the Stadium of Light ended.

The 32-year-old forward ran to Johnson to celebrate the first goal of his hat-trick, as he punished his old club.

Maguire joined Lincoln after his release by the Black Cats last summer.

“You could probably say it was a little bit personal, with how my time here ended,” he told BBC Radio Lincolnshire.

“I just do my talking on the pitch and I’ve done that again.

“It was a bit of tongue in cheek. He [Johnson] tried to get me sent off with my first tackle, and people at this ground know I like to wind up.

“I’ve great respect for the Sunderland fans – I loved my time here and it wasn’t to be disrespectful to them. I hope they can see that. I thought I was hard done by the last six months of my career.

“I played here for three years. It’s a great place to play football and an even better place to get three points and win a game of football.”

Since joining Lincoln, the Scotland international has scored five goals in 21 games to follow 28 in 124 appearances on Wearside.

While it was a memorable night for Maguire and Lincoln, for Johnson the evening was a forgettable one as it ended with a disappointing defeat and his dismissal from the touchline late on.

The 40-year-old Sunderland boss refused to criticise Maguire in the aftermath.

“It’s not really for me to comment,” Johnson told BBC Radio Newcastle. “When a player is at a club, you pick an honest team and don’t hold grudges. Players sometimes move on which is part of the game.

“You pick players, like [Elliot] Embleton, [Alex] Pritchard, based on your belief in those individuals. Today he’s had his day and good luck to him.”

Johnson’s sending off at the end came after a lunging challenge from Callum Doyle sparked a touchline melee between the two teams.

“I thought it was a high tackle from Callum, wasn’t the best tackle in the world, but when there’s an 18-year-old lad, albeit a big one, getting picked on in front of me, I felt it was right to prevent and defend,” Johnson added.

“The craziness is I get sent off, nobody else does. That’s frustrating, but I’ve got to be accountable for my actions. I’ll take whatever punishment comes on the chin.”

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