D-Day: Lennon in eye of Monday storm as SFA and police probe conduct against Rangers - report
By Harry Sykes
Hibernian manager Neil Lennon will find out on Monday if he is to face an SFA charge for his touchline celebrations at Ibrox, according to reports.
The Daily Record claim Police Scotland have launched an investigation into the conduct of the Hibs boss during his side’s 3-2 win on Saturday after around 30 Rangers fans lodged complaints.
The newspaper claim that the reaction of Lennon to Simon Murray’s first-half equaliser so incensed the home support many of them reported him for his conduct to police officers in the main stand.
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.
Within seconds a lighter was thrown from the home enclosure, missing him by a few feet, while Rangers assistant manager Helder Baptista complained to a police officer standing at the mouth of the tunnel.
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On a day when home midfielder Ryan Jack was red-carded and another six Rangers players – plus two from the visiting team – were booked, referee John Beaton was kept busy.
The Mail report that Lennon will find out today if he will be charged by the SFA, with the possibility of that sanction appearing to grow after the Record claimed the incident has been mentioned in the match report of SPFL delegate Tim Love.
Beaton and fourth official Euan Anderson missed Lennon’s gestures, but the decision by police to speak to the referee is certain to be mentioned in his report.
Photographers also caught Lennon’s gestures and McGlennan could now begin the process of activating a two-match suspension that was hanging over the Easter Road gaffer following last season’s bust-up on the touchline with Morton boss Jim Duffy.
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “Complaints have been received and our enquiries are continuing.”
But the Hibs boss, the target of sustained abuse from home fans, insisted he’d merely been caught up in the emotion of his team getting themselves back in the game.
When it was suggested that Baptista had spoken to the police about Lennon, the Hibs manager told the Daily Record: “He should have got back in his box.
“Funny enough he didn’t (have something to say to me).
“I don’t know what he was saying, I assume he was unhappy about something. I didn’t make a gesture, I celebrated a goal.
“If they are unhappy about it they can come and tell me. But I shouldn’t get into trouble for doing that. I am celebrating a goal. What way are you supposed to celebrate a goal?
“If I pick my nose someone will find something to criticise me for, I am celebrating a goal. You are looking for things that aren’t there.”
Murray fired home to cancel out Alfredo Morelos’ opener before a James Tavernier own-goal and a sublime volley from Vykintas Slivka gave the away side a 3-1 lead.
Tavernier netted a consolation goal to make it 3-2 as Rangers slumped to their first league defeat of the season following their opening-day win at Motherwell.
In other Rangers news, fans have destroyed a summer signing on Twitter for his display against Hibernian.