Sport

Neil Lennon hit by coin in Edinburgh derby scoreless draw; Celtic hit five; Rangers held

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon hit by coin in Edinburgh derby scoreless draw 

Scottish Premiership Hearts 0 Hibernian 0

A "FIZZING" Neil Lennon called for the Hearts fan who hit him with a coin to be singled out and humiliated after the latest attack on the Hibernian head coach at Tynecastle.

Both Lennon and Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal were floored by attacks from supporters during a goalless Edinburgh derby which also saw Hibs striker Florian Kamberi sent off.

Zlamal appeared to be struck by the arm of a fan in the Hibs end as he went to retrieve the ball from behind his goal and missiles appeared to rain down as he got up and gestured in defiance.

Lennon was struck in the face by a pound coin after Clevid Dikamona had a stoppage-time goal ruled out for offside and the game was held up as he received treatment.

The Lurgan man was previously assaulted by a Hearts fan on the touchline while Celtic manager and he was disgusted by the latest attacks on him and Zlamal.

"My jaw is throbbing," Lennon said. "I'm very, very angry. I'm fizzing about it.

"It's disgraceful. 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 to a football pitch I will never know.

"I believe Zlamal was hit as well. It's just ridiculous. We don't defend that behaviour from our supporters as well. Hopefully both individuals will be singled out.

"I would like to meet the individual who threw the coin at me some day, because I am not happy about it at all."

When asked what he would say to him, Lennon said: "It's not for public consumption, trust me. I don't know if I would saying anything to him.

"The referee might have had some missiles thrown at him as well, I don't know who by.

"It's blackening the name of both clubs and Scottish football. This should be a showpiece game, it was feisty and intimidating, everything you expect. But if people can't behave themselves they should be banned, singled out, embarrassed and humiliated, because they have humiliated the club."

Lennon turned round towards the celebrating Hearts fans after the goal was disallowed but he dismissed any suggestion he had done anything wrong.

"It was really light-hearted the whole game, there was no malice, a bit of banter between me and a couple of fans," he said. "Obviously there was some heavy stuff as well but nothing over the top. So where that came from I don't know.

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

Hearts boss Craig Levein admitted he had got a scare when he saw Lennon lying on the ground in the technical area.

"Bobby (Zlamal) said someone struck him and it looked like Neil was hit by a coin," he said.

"It saddens me. Both teams are doing well, don't want to get beat, tensions are high, aggression is evident throughout the match on the field. But there's no place for things like that. You can sign and shout and swear all you like but..

"I got a fright when I saw Lenny on the ground. I hope they catch whoever it was that threw it. They need to be dealt with."

Dundee 0 Celtic 5

BRENDAN Rodgers wants to continue on the winning trail after his 100th victory as Celtic boss came in the 5-0 Ladbrokes Premiership demolition of Dundee at Dens Park.

Australia midfielder Tom Rogic celebrated his 150th appearance for the Hoops in the 19th minute with a wonderful opener before further goals from winger Scott Sinclair, from the spot, fellow winger James Forrest and striker Odsonne Edouard had the points secure by the interval.

Ryan Christie added the fifth early in the second-half to take the champions four points behind leaders Hearts who they host on Saturday.

Rodgers, who took over at Parkhead in 2016 and who has since won the domestic double treble, said: "I didn't know it was my 100th win. Someone just told me there. We should have had more.

"How many games have I had? 144? How many losses? 21? That's too many. I should have won more.

"I'm always proud to manage the club. My job is to give the fans as many wins as I can. We need 101 now.

"We played very well. The team was very cohesive in our passing and creativity, played to really high level technically.

"We also showed the level of our fitness, that ability to pass and move.

"We pressed without the ball and, when you have it, some of the goals were real quality."

Australia international Daniel Arzani, the 19-year-old attacker on loan from Manchester City, replaced Edouard to make his debut in the second-half but was carried from the field on a stretcher in the 79th minute after appearing to jar his knee, leaving Celtic to finish the game with 10 men.

Rodgers said: "Arzani is a great boy and it's unfortunate he picked up the injury with a run in the game.

"I think his knee just sort of gave way and he felt it a bit unstable.

"He was taking the applause on the way out, so I'm not sure how sore it was. I don't think it was killing him."

Demoralised Dundee remain bottom of the table with one win in 11 games and Jim McIntyre has now lost his first three games as boss since taking over from Neil McCann, conceding 12 goals.

He said: "Too passive. That's what I would say.

"Our game plan was to make sure we sat off Celtic in their half and try to play counter attack.

"But we had to make contact in their half. Rogic's goal, we gave four or five yards away – that's too much with his quality. We've got to have contact on the ball.

"The second goal is not a penalty. It is a poor decision. But we don't even claim.

"We don't hound the referee. We should be hounding the referee and I don't see that.

"Two of the next three goals were just midfield runners.

"It's haemorrhaging the confidence and you can see that after second goal. Celtic started to play free-flowing football.

"We're a bit fragile with the confidence levels. Nobody is going to help us."

 

Kilmarnock players celebrate Greg Stewart's equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Rangers

 

Rangers 1 Kilmarnock 1

STEVEN Gerrard told his Rangers players it is time they started taking responsibility after insisting they failed to deliver an acceptable response to their Betfred Cup exit.

The Ibrox boss was looking for a big reaction after Sunday's Hampden defeat to Aberdeen as they welcomed Kilmarnock to Glasgow.

But they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw after Greg Stewart cancelled out Alfredo Morelos' early opener.

The result sees Rangers remain eight points behind leaders Hearts but drop four behind Celtic and the Gers manager says it is time his players started showing him more.

Gerrard said: "It was not the result or the reaction I wanted after the weekend.

"It was a six or seven out of 10 and it wasn't enough to beat a well-drilled Kilmarnock team.

"We knew the onus would be on us to provide the quality. We got the first goal which should have given us a big lift but it never.

"We continued to play slowly. It was a frustrating result and a frustrating performance.

"I can sit here and protect them all night and take the blame. If that's what they want then I will.

"But, they are Rangers players. They are the ones who have to go out and deliver and tonight they haven't.

"We will all take the blame together but they have to take responsibility at some point.

"It is a concern that it has happened a few times now.

"I expected a better reaction. I think the fans deserved a better reaction and better performance and they never delivered it."

Morelos returned after missing Sunday's 1-0 Dons defeat and immediately produced the spark his side had missed at the National Stadium as he fired a deflected ninth-minute strike past Jamie MacDonald.

But mistakes by Joe Worrall and Jon Flanagan opened up space for Stewart on the quarter-hour mark and the Killie frontman – who was only cleared to play after Killie appealed a notice of complaint issued following an off-the-ball scrape with Hamilton's Scott Martin at the weekend – took full advantage as he swept a stunning strike home.

The visitors could even have snatched victory in stoppage time but Stewart was this time denied by Wes Foderingham.

Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke, whose side remain three points above Gers in third place, was delighted with his side's dogged display.

"I believe we're the first team in the league to come here and stop Rangers getting all three points, so we can be pleased with that," he said.

"But, we're also a little bit disappointed because we also had opportunities, especially in the second half when the game opened up a little bit. We could have scored because Greg Stewart got away at the start of injury time and with a little bit of luck we might have nicked another goal.

"With a little bit more care and attention, we might have had all three points."

 

 

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