Neil Lennon believes Hibs’ deserved 3-2 win over Rangers at Ibrox was wrongly overshadowed by the fall-out from his goal celebrations and called a supporters’ group statement “laughable”.
The Hibs head coach was the subject of complaints to police after briefly cupping his ears and raising a fist towards the Ibrox main stand when Simon Murray levelled in a tempestuous Ladbrokes Premiership encounter. Police later confirmed the Northern Irishman would not face any action.
In a rancorous aftermath, Gers boss Pedro Caixinha criticised referee John Beaton’s decision to send off Ryan Jack for a clash with Anthony Stokes, who was earlier booked for wrestling James Tavernier to the ground. And, when it was suggested to Lennon that Light Blues assistant manager Helder Baptista had spoken to the police about him, he replied: “He should have got back in his box”.
Lennon was later accused by Rangers fan group Club 1872 of “inflammatory” actions and the former Celtic manager claimed it all took the shine off a fine win for his side.
He said: “Why it was front page news? There is so much more going on in Scotland and around the world and there I find myself on the front page on Monday for celebrating a goal. It is disproportionate.
“We won the game. It was a massive deflection and distraction from what my players did, the way we set the team out, the football way we played and the win.
“If it wasn’t me, it was the referee, which is fine. People can comment on how they see the game afterwards, they are entitled to their opinion, but we went to Ibrox in a really hostile environment, stood up to the challenge and came away with a fantastic three points and I think that has been really poorly overlooked by the mainstream media.”
Speaking before Jack’s red card was rescinded, Lennon added: “Possibly Anthony Stokes could have been sent off, most football people would agree with that. Ryan leant his head into Anthony, he has previous with that, he got away with it last season.
“Graham Dorrans grabbed Vykintas Slivka by the neck, Alfredo Morales went through the back of Dylan McGeouch on three occasions and ended up getting a yellow but these things happen. It was a difficult game to handle.
“Maybe once I remonstrated once with the fourth official, that was it, but that seemed to irk some other people who behaved far worse than me.”
Lennon admitted his relief that police decided to take no action and expects the Scottish Football Association compliance officer Tonny McGlennan to follow suit.
He said: “Of course, but as I said at the time I didn’t think I had any case to answer to and thankfully the police have seen that as well.
“I expect that to be the case (with the SFA) and we draw a line under it. I didn’t think my behaviour was over the top at all. Why I am being criticised for that, I don’t know.
“I can cite a lot of people for what they do but I don’t, I get on with it. I try to do with a bit of humour but people lose their sense of humour when they concede a goal against my teams.”
Lennon was scathing when asked about the statement issued by Club 1872.
He said: “Laughable. Insignificant. Never heard of them. Looked like it was written by a 15-year-old. I was aware of it but I don’t need to comment on it.”