Neil Lennon has revealed how he was blanked by Pedro Caixinha as he joined the Rangers boss for a traditional after-match drink in his office following Hibs’ ill-tempered victory at Ibrox last weekend.
The Hibs head coach claimed Caixinha spoke only in Portuguese to his right-hand man Helder Baptista, ignoring Lennon and his backroom staff, a distinct lack of respect as far as he was concerned.
Lennon himself had been accused by Caixinha of not showing him the respect he felt he was due but the former Celtic boss, who’d found himself condemned for his celebrations following the equalising goal which paved the way for Hibs’ 3-2 win, insisted he had shown plenty of respect to Caixinha – short of “kissing his feet”.
Caixinha appeared particularly annoyed at Lennon’s antics in the away technical area, Baptista at one point seen presumably to be complaining to a police officer in the vicinity but, insisted the Easter Road boss, there was plenty more going on outside his own dug-out.
He said: “I didn’t seen Pedro’s comments. You have to explain to be what he meant by it because during the game I think I remonstrated once with the fourth official about a decision. Once.
“Whereas there were things going on in their technical area. Bottles being kicked, blah-blah-bla, shouting and screaming at the fourth official. So I’ve nothing to reproach myself for in how I handled the situation.
“I don’t know where he’s coming from, within the confines of the game.”
Asked if he felt Caixinha’s reaction was an attempt to deflect from the outcome of the match, Lennon said: “Maybe. That’s something you would need to ask him about. I can’t comment on what he’s thinking.
“I paid him due respect before the game. You guys were here last Friday, you know that. I said he came across as a gentleman. I paid Ibrox the compliment of saying it was a great amphitheatre. I even complimented his team’s performance after the game.
“So, other than kiss his feet, how much respect does he want me to give him?”
And Lennon revealed the ill-feeling demonstrated on the touchline continued when the respective backroom staffs gathered.
He said: “That respect should have been afforded to me when we went into his office afterwards. But it clearly wasn’t. You know, respect is a two-way thing.
“There was no conversation with myself or my backroom team. That was odd, very odd. I’ve never experienced that before. Only Jonatan Johansson [Rangers assistant coach] and the young fitness coach who was there made conversation.
“I spoke to Jonatan and the fitness coach spoke to Grant Murray [Hibs first-team coach]. We had no conversation or dialogue with the manager or his backroom team.”
Instead, insisted Lennon, who is learning Portuguese himself, Caixinha and Baptista only spoke in their native tongue. He said: “They spoke in Portuguese. Which I understand a little bit of . . . I had half a glass of beer and that was it.”
Lennon was adamant that an after-match chat between managers was regarded as part of the game regardless of the outcome of the match itself, rules which apply even to Old Firm clashes.
He said: “There is an unwritten respect between managers no matter what went on before. Sometimes you don’t want to do it, but you bite your lip and take it. It works both way.”
Insisting he’d never act in that manner while asking what the reaction would be should he do so, Lennon said: “The majority of time you do your press duties afterwards and you are still emotional and you have to just suck it up when you get beat.
“Sometimes you don’t want to talk about the game at all but there is that respect. If Pedro wants that then he has to give some back.”