Burns: Lennon could have sparked a riot from Rangers fans
By Harry Sykes
Former Rangers player Hugh Burns has branded Neil Lennon a “disgrace” for his touchline antics in Hibernian’s tempestuous clash at Ibrox on Saturday.
The Hibs manager has been cleared by police of wrongdoing although he is waiting to see if the SFA will take any action against him.
But ex-Gers defender Burns says Lennon’s actions could have sparked a riot for his over-the-top celebration of Scott Murray’s equalising goal.
Supporters of the Scottish giants bombarded social media with complaints about Lennon’s conduct in his side’s 3-2 triumph, while around 30 fans also lodged with the police.
They claimed ex-Celtic manager Lennon’s gestures towards fans in the wake of Murray’s equaliser were deliberately provocative.
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Lennon turned and faced the main stand, kept his arms aloft, cupped his ears, shrieked with joy and made an ‘up yours’ pumped fist gesture.
“I thought the way Neil Lennon behaved was disgraceful. I was in the TV gantry, and I was both angry and disgusted with what I saw,” Burns told the Scottish Sun.
“The gesture he made was clearly an ‘up yours’ one. It wasn’t only provocative, it showed a real lack of class.
“What Lennon did was terrible, especially given that there’s already bad blood between the fans of the two clubs after last year’s Scottish Cup Final.
“It’s all very well celebrating, and everyone knows Lennon’s an emotional guy. But the way he behaved beggared belief.
“When it happened I looked at the fans around me and I saw anger and hatred on their faces. It could easily have sparked a riot. All it needed was one guy who had a drink too many to react and it would all have kicked off.”
It is not unfamiliar territory for Lennon, who, during his time at Celtic was subject to two assaults in the streets of Glasgow, another on the side of the pitch at Tynecastle and was the subject of threatening packages and bullets sent through the mail.
“What’s gone on in the past has been well-documented, with his confrontation with Ally McCoist, and him being sent bullets in the post,” Burns added to the Scottish Sun.
“You you can’t condone that kind of stuff. It’s undeserved, but he does bring a hell of a lot of attention on himself.
“Celebrating with your team’s fans is one thing. Gesturing at the opposition’s is another, and he had no reason to do that.”