'Not good enough.' Hearts hit out at Hibs fans as lighter hits Alex Cochrane at Easter Road
Robbie Neilson criticised missile-throwing Hibs fans after Hearts defender Alex Cochrane was struck by a lighter in Sunday’s Edinburgh derby at Easter Road.
Objects rained down on the Englishman as he prepared to take a second-half throw-in, with one appearing to strike him on the head. Hibs’ latest signing, Martin Boyle, scored a stoppage-time equaliser in the 1-1 draw after Lawrence Shankland had put Hearts 1-0 up.
“It’s not good enough at all. Not good enough,” said Neilson, the Hearts manager, when asked about the Cochrane incident. “We need that stamped out of Scottish football in any ground.
“I’m sure the authorities will come down heavy on it because you can’t have people coming to their work and getting hit with things like that.
“I think we ask a lot of the stewards, let’s be honest. It’s a very, very difficult role to do. People speak about it all the time but these are people that are trying to cover 300, 400, 500 people. It’s almost impossible.
“I think it’s got to come from the clubs. It’s got to come from the SFA. It’s not acceptable. I don’t want the focus to be on that, it is all about the football, but you can’t have that.”
Cochrane seemed hurt at the time, with Neilson adding: “To be honest I’ve never been hit but a lighter but I’m sure it is pretty sore.”
Hearts left Leith disappointed at wasting several chances to kill Hibs off. Boyle’s late strike punished them. “We dominated the game, scored the goal and had chances to make it two, three or even four. We didn't do it and that let them back in again. Losing the goal right at the end is massively disappointing,” said Neilson.
“I think it was their first or second shot on target. We came out of our slot in midfield, allowed Boyle to run, they got a wee bit of luck with the cutback but that's football sometimes. We have to accept it and come back stronger.”
The manager felt Hibs’ celebrations at full-time indicated how far Hearts have progressed. “We had a brilliant season last year, finished third, we have group-stage football coming, so when we come to these places and drop points it's going to be a big thing for the opposition.”