Neil Lennon today accused Morton player Kudus Oyenuga of “an act of cowardice” in trying to break Hibs defender Jordon Forster’s leg before conning the referee into sending off captain Darren McGregor.
Oyenuga’s challenge on Forster sparked mayhem at the end of last night’s Championship clash which ended in a no-scoring draw to leave the Capital club ten points clear at the top of the table.
The Cappielow player was shown a red card by referee Nick Walsh as was McGregor who confronted Oyenuga who then fell to the ground, sparking a free-for-all which ended with both Lennon and Morton manager Jim Duffy being sent to the stand. Lennon was left outraged by the incident, insisting Hibs will appeal McGregor’s sending off.
He said: “Here’s my take on it. The guy tried to break my player’s leg.
“Darren goes over and he feigns a head butt, he goes down holding his face but Darren did not make any contact.
“The next thing I have got is the Morton manager asking for a square go which is fair enough, I’m not going to back down. Then I have his assistant [Craig McPherson] and the Morton players, but it will be ‘bad old Lenny, Lenny’s fault, Lenny started it, blah, blah, blah’.
“I didn’t react any differently to the way any other manager would have reacted to a tackle like that. It’s disgraceful, the boy’s behaviour was embarrassing. Not only has he tried to break my player’s leg, he’s got my captain sent off as well in an act of cowardice and I have to take that. Sorry.”
Walsh will send his report to the SFA which Lennon revealed he’ll study before deciding his reaction, but was adamant Hibs will appeal McGregor’s red card.
Explaining his reaction, Lennon said: “When you have a wave of people coming then you will stand your ground. I’m not having it, sorry. He has come all the way from his technical area into mine. I have not done anything other than shout at his player and I have every right to do that. He’d have done exactly the same thing if the shoe was on the other foot. And then to compound it, the boy has feigned an injury as if he has been really badly hurt. It was absolutely disgraceful behaviour from a professional football player. No wonder I am angry.
“I’m not having that, his assistant manager having a go as well and then the players coming over when my player is lying on the ground and no-one knowing how badly injured he was. Thankfully, there’s nothing broken but he has damaged his shoulder pretty badly. And then my captain has been sent off. No wonder I am annoyed. I had every right to be.”
Hibs are due to play Morton again at Cappielow a week on Saturday and Lennon said: “I am looking forward to it,” before adding: “They have to look at themselves. I have nothing to reproach my players for but, as usual, it will be all about me.”
Morton boss Duffy admitted the challenge by Oyenuga was “dangerous and reckless” and felt the referee was about to deal with the situation with a red card but added: “Unfortunately, their bench reacted, our’s reacted – including myself.
“There was a bit of a melee and the referee sends us to the stand, something that hasn’t happened to me before.”
Adamant the fracas shouldn’t detract from what was an “outstanding” performance from his team, Duffy insisted no punches had been thrown and that he certainly hadn’t. He said: “If something happened on the periphery, I didn’t see anything like that.”
As for the game itself, Lennon said: “I thought we dominated the game, just didn’t put our chances away.”