Hearts boss Craig Levein calls on 'abhorrent' fans to be banned from football

Hearts boss Craig Levein checks on Neil Lennon in the technical area. Pic: SNS
Hearts boss Craig Levein checks on Neil Lennon in the technical area. Pic: SNS
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Hearts manager Craig Levein insists the fans who threw a coin at Neil Lennon and hit Zdenek Zlamal at Tynecastle Park last night must be banned from football.


Amid horrific scenes during last night's Edinburgh derby, Hibs manager Lennon was seen on the ground inside his technical area after being struck by a coin from the home support. Prior to that incident in the dying seconds, the Hearts goalkeeper Zlamal appeared to be hit by a Hibs fan whilst retrieving the ball.


Levein admitted getting a fright seeing Lennon on the turf inside the visitors' technical area and condemned both incidents. He stressed the culprits will be dealt with and wants them issued with a football banning order.


"They will get dealt with. I just think it's abhorrent," said Levein. "I don't mind people being committed fans who are aggressive in their support, but throwing things isn't on.


"The stadium itself is fantastic with fans right on top of the players. At times it can be a bit like a cauldron. I'm just disappointed it happened and I got a fright when I saw Lenny lying on the ground. There's no place for that.


"Bobby [Zlamal] says someone struck him and it looks like Neil has been hit by a coin. It just saddens me, really. Both sets of players are doing well at this moment in time, they don’t want to get beat, tension is high, aggression is evident throughout the match on the field. But there’s no place for things like that.


"You can sing and shout and swear all you like, but not that. I got a fright when I saw Lenny on the ground. I hope they catch whoever it was who threw it, it doesn’t matter what team they support, they need to be dealt with."


Hibs striker Florian Kamberi was dismissed for a second yellow card on 65 minutes as a tension-filled evening began to get out of control. The incident with Zlamal appeared to involved a Hibs supporter striking out at the keeper as he went to collect the ball from the crowd.


Then, with only seconds to play, Lennon celebrated when Hearts defender Clevid Dikamona had a likely winning goal disallowed for offside against Peter Haring. The Hibs manager was then hit with a coin from Tynecastle's main stand, causing Levein to appeal for calm from supporters.


Levein felt Kamberi deserved his sending off for a challenge on Hearts midfielder Oliver Bozanic, but complained that his team did not play with enough cohesion.


"He [Kamberi] is on a yellow card, he’s very aggressive in his challenge. He runs the risk, doesn’t he? I think it was a second yellow card," Levein said of the Kamberi incident.


"Both sets of players competed really well tonight, they just forgot that football was the name of the game. It became one of those ones that will get locked away in a bottom drawer of derbies that you instantly forget.


"We played Peter Haring and Callumn Morrison out of position up front. We wanted to get the ball in behind and get Hibs turning early on. I had planned to put Callumn back out wide after 15 minutes but he was doing very well so I just left him.


"I don't blame those two for us not playing enough football. The whole team has to take responsibility for forgetting to pass the ball. I thought we were much better in the second half. I thought we deserved to win the game if you go on chances, possession and all the rest of it.


"I thought we had won it with the disallowed goal. I'm extremely disappointed because I don't think Peter is offside."