Craig Levein and Neil Lennon appeal for calm ahead of Edinburgh derby
BOSSES of both Hibs and Hearts have appealed for calm ahead of today's derby showdown to prevent any repeat of the Halloween horror show.
The October 31 clash at Tynecastle saw Hibs boss Neil Lennon floored by a coin, Hearts keeper Zdenek Zlamal struck by a supporter and an assistant referee assaulted.
Police have taken the unusual step of visiting both clubs ahead of this afternoon’s 5.30pm kick-off at Easter Road to try and prevent a repeat of the chaos.
“The Police came in to update us on a few things and make sure that everyone’s safety is paramount on and off the field,” said Mr Lennon.
“They just told us what sort of procedures are in place before, during and after the game.
“It was a very simplistic 10-15 minutes and we thank the police for that. The message to the supporters is go and enjoy the game and go home safely and either celebrate or console each other. If it’s a draw just leave it at that.”
Some suggested the late kick-off time in October contributed to the mayhem and Mr Lennon added: ”It’s a funny one.
“Two derbies on the one day, as well. There may be a bit of alcohol consumed by 5.30. We would all just ask people to behave themselves.”
His counterpart Craig Levein also tackled the issue of crowd trouble at his pre-match press conference.
“It’s a nonsense, really,” said the Hearts manager. “The important thing is the players, what happens on the pitch.
“I just ask both sets of supporters to go along and enjoy themselves. I want them to go along and enjoy the spectacle.”
Hearts owner Ann Budge and Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster gave a joint interview pointing to the club’s involvement in the Evening News’ Edinburgh Cheer campaign as evidence of collaboration.
Ms Dempster said: “There’s a rivalry on the pitch and the supporters enjoy that but the clubs work well together.
“We share a lot. We share this wonderful city, we share families and it’s incumbent on us to make sure we respect that and show solidarity.”
Ms Budge added: “There were a couple of flashpoints in that game but to some extent it was a typical derby – a hard fought game of football. We have to keep it in perspective .”
Match commander Superintendent Jim Royan, said: “There is always a small minority whose behaviour and actions put themselves, other spectators, and even players and staff, at risk of harm. This cannot and will not be tolerated.”