Angry Hibs boss Neil Lennon says 'mindless' fan conduct can't go on

Neil Lennon was hit by a coin at Tynecastle. Pic: SNS
Neil Lennon was hit by a coin at Tynecastle. Pic: SNS
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Hibs boss Neil Lennon has told the “coward” who felled him with a pound coin during last night’s explosive Edinburgh derby that he’d love to meet them face to face.

Lennon was left furious and with a “throbbing” jaw after being hit by the missile thrown from behind the away dug-out as he turned in delight after seeing a late header from Hearts defender Clevid Dikamona ruled out for offside.

Lennon called for the book to be thrown at the guilty party and the Hibs fan who struck Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal earlier in the match.

“It’s no laughing matter,” insisted Lennon. “I hope they deal with it and I’d like to meet the guy face to face.

“It’s not on. It’s disgraceful. Players are out there doing their jobs and trying to entertain people.

“I don’t understand the mentality of the supporter who wants to throw things at people.

“These people should be punished, they should be banned. You can’t condone that sort of behaviour, it’s disgraceful.”

Lennon, who was assaulted by a fan at the same ground in 2011, exonerated Hearts for any culpability but conceded the Gorgie outfit would feel embarrassed by what had happened to him.

He said: “I don’t blame the club, you can’t legislate for the hatred of some individuals or the badness.

“What possesses people to throw things on the football pitch I will never know. I believe Zlamal was hit as well and it’s just ridiculous. We do not defend that behaviour from our supporters and hopefully both individuals will be singled out.

“What can a club do when there’s a supporter throwing things on to the pitch? Ultimately it’s down to the individual.

“God knows what age he is, he could be a grown man for all I know. Hopefully there will be punishment for both those people involved if the cameras can pick them out.

"It’s just badness. Badness. The referee might have had some missiles thrown at him as well.

"It’s just blackening the name of both clubs and of Scottish football.

“This should be a showpiece game. It was feisty, it was intimidating, everything you would expect. But if people can’t behave themselves they should be singled out and embarrassed and humiliated.”

Asked what he might say to the idiot who assaulted him if they were to meet, Lennon replied: “What would you say to him? It’s not for public consumption, trust me. I don’t know if I would say anything to him.

“‘It can’t go on. I don’t know if it’s a stewarding problem or a police problem. How can you legislate for some mindless idiots in a crowd of 19,000. We are talking about incidents like this when we should be talking about the game.

“I’m sick of it. Really sick of it to tell the truth."

Lennon admitted some might say he brings such things upon himself, but he said: “You know what? It was actually really light-hearted the whole game, there was no real malice.

“There was a bit of banter pitchside. Some heavy stuff, but nothing over the top ... where that comes from I don’t know.

“Their mode of thinking will be, ‘he brings it on himself'. Sorry, but that does not wash and that’s why I am angry. And it could have been a lot worse.

“Why can’t individuals just behave themselves at a football game? The coin could have hit some kid and could throw it the wrong way. In the end it was a great shot.

“But it was just mindless, I am lost for words at times. He’ll be full of regret like John Wilson (attacker in 2011) saying, ‘I’m really sorry, blah, blah, blah.

“They give me plenty – all of the time. It’s not humour. Some of it is quite unsavoury. Some people can take it, others seem to resort to throwing things. It’s just not good enough.”