Neil Lennon took umbrage at Craig Levein as Hearts eliminated rivals Hibs from the Scottish Cup. Don Cowie’s late goal settled the fourth-round tie at Tynecastle Park, but Lennon reacted angrily to comments by Levein during the post-match media conference.
The Hearts manager stated that the 1-0 win to end Hibs’ nine-game unbeaten run in Edinburgh derbies restored the natural order in the Capital.
“It’s a massive win for us,” said Levein. “The longer the run goes on, the more difficult it becomes and the more steely Hibs become when they’re protecting something.
“We needed to break it and break it as quickly as possible and that today was relief. I don’t like this idea that Hibs were gaining any sort of momentum and I want to try to restore the natural order of things.
“We’ve stopped the run that Hibs had, we’ve gone through to the next round and we feel good about it. I think we deserved to win and that’s important as well.”
Cowie’s flick from Christophe Berra’s header just crossed the line on 86 minutes at the Gorgie Road end – where Hibs striker Oli Shaw was denied a clear goal in the last meeting between the clubs in the league a few weeks ago.
Levein said jokingly: “We managed to bundle the ball over the line and I was almost hoping it wasn’t in. That would’ve been brilliant.”
Lennon accused his Tynecastle counterpart of “lacking humility” with the comments. “What does that mean, restoring the natural order? I don’t understand that. What is the natural order? Is it Hearts beating Hibs every time?” queried Lennon.
“It’s just a crock of c**p. It’s a pretty poor statement to make and I think it’s disrespectful to my club, my players and me. We have got two more games to come so we will see if the natural order is restored then.
“That’s not good. I don’t know what he means by it but they have not won in nine, this is my first defeat in five, we also should have won the league game here and they got lucky. There’s a lack of humility in that statement. I don’t think I have ever made a statement like that.”