HEARTS are determined to ensure Sunday’s potentially hostile encounter with Celtic passes without incident as Neil Lennon prepares to return to Tynecastle.
The Celtic manager was attacked pitchside when the clubs last met in Edinburgh in May, however the man responsible has been banned for life by Hearts.
As well as the attack on Lennon, Celtic supporters earned criticism for pro-IRA chanting on the night as the game degenerated amidst a poisonous atmosphere.
Hearts are adamant there should be no repeat when Lennon steps out at Tynecastle for the first time since that infamous encounter four months ago. Two “clear zones” will be imposed to keep rival supporters a safe distance from each other at the Roseburn Stand end of the ground, and there will be increased security around both dugouts.
Anyone who steps out of line can expect a lifetime ban from Hearts and possible police sanctions if necessary.
“No-one wants to see those scenes again,” said Derek Watson, chairman of the Hearts Supporters’ Trust. “There will always be the inevitable banter and rivalry between Hearts and Celtic given the kind of atmosphere the game generates.
“But let’s hope Sunday’s match passes without incident.”