Hibs boss Lee Johnson speaks for first time since escaping ban over Hearts melee
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Players, staff and officials from both clubs became embroiled in the heated exchange which took place almost immediately after the full-time whistle following a 1-1 draw which saw Hearts secure fourth place in the cinch Premiership.
It started, by Johnson’s own admission, when the away manager aimed a fist into the ribs of interim Hearts boss (now technical director) Steven Naismith, later admitting the two “don’t like each other very much”.
Hibs defender Rocky Bushiri was given a two-game ban for his part in the melee, while each club was fined by Scottish football’s governing body.
Johnson received a red card at the time, along with now-departed Hearts goalkeeper Ross Stewart and goalkeeping coach Paul Gallacher, though escaped further punishment after the SFA reviewed the footage.
The 42-year-old believed there wasn’t much to the altercation but, though he wants his club to act with as much class as possible, reckons these things are inevitable in Edinburgh derbies.
“Listen, I didn’t want to be banned and I didn’t want Rocky to be banned,” he told the Daily Record.
“Looking back they weren’t nice scenes but it never felt it was in danger of getting really aggressive. It’s a passionate league. There was a crescendo and it’s two clubs who are fierce rivals.
“Part of me thinks it gives you guys entertainment but at the same time as a club we want to act with as much class as possible. But inevitably things get heated, particularly in those derbies.
“I didn’t actually do a lot, if I’m honest, if you watch it back. I’d say I started it in terms of between myself and the Hearts manager we started it.
“But there was nothing really to it. It was the fact everyone else jumped in. I think it was probably everyone’s frustration or relief at the season ending. I can’t speak for every individual being involved in being a peacemaker but there were a lot more peacemakers than aggressors.”