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Hibs: 'Lennon didn't goad fans'


STRUCK: Neil Lennon. Photo: PA

STRUCK: Neil Lennon. Photo: PA

STRUCK: Neil Lennon. Photo: PA

Hibernian chief executive Leeann Dempster dismissed claims Neil Lennon goaded Hearts fans before being struck by a coin as she told his critics to remember football is an entertainment business.

Lennon's former Celtic team-mate, Gary Caldwell, claimed the Hibs head coach sometimes incites trouble while former Hearts striker Stephen Elliott branded his touchline behaviour "idiotic".

The 47-year-old turned round to joke with Hearts fans and gesture for them to calm down after the hosts had a goal disallowed during Wednesday's goalless Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle. Seconds later he was struck by a missile.

"Irrespective of what a manager does trackside, he does not deserve to be hit by an object," Dempster said. "If others, the league or anybody else deem a manager's antics to go beyond the realms of what's acceptable then that will be dealt with properly.

"But remember we are in the entertainment business here as well. And, sorry, I don't support anybody who says that a manager having interaction with supporters in that manner deserves to be hit by an object.

"You just have to look at the circumstances. We know what the interaction is like for him (at Tynecastle) and he's human like everybody else, and I don't think we should forget that."

Caldwell had condemned the missile-throwing but felt Lennon should have behaved differently.

The Partick Thistle manager told BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound programme: "I was Neil's team-mate at Celtic and I love him to bits, I love his teams and the way they play, but I think he brings a lot of it on himself.

"Whoever throws a coin - I actually got hit by one on Saturday or something on the back of my head - whoever throws something from a stand should be ejected immediately and never allowed in a football stadium again. But Neil Lennon was goading the fans as that goal got disallowed and then it happened."