By Danny Wright
Greenock Morton boss Jim Duffy has stood by Neil Lennon for his touchline celebration in Hibernian’s 3-2 win at Rangers on Saturday.
Duffy, 58, was involved in his own fracas with ex-Celtic manager Lennon last season, but has decided to side with the controversial Northern Irishman on this occasion by explaining that he was probably responding to the “vitriolic” and “disgusting” abuse that usually comes from the stands.
Lennon appeared to goad the Ibrox supporters after Simon Murray equalised for Hibs in the first-half and it has since been reported by the Daily Record that Police Scotland have opened an investigation into the conduct of the Hoops icon.
Gers boss Pedro Caixinha has since taken a swipe at Lennon by suggesting that he should only celebrate with his own fans, but ex-Celtic defender Duffy has shown his support for the Hibernian manager saying that it would have simply been in response to the abuse he would be getting from the crowd.
“I’m absolutely in the managers’ camp on this one, because we’ve all been there,” said Duffy on the Scottish Sun website.
“I’ve been saying for years that the abuse we have to put up with on the sidelines is vitriolic, disgusting and totally unacceptable.
“Unfortunately it’s almost taken for granted.
“And if a manager does react to the stream of abuse he’s getting, people are suddenly whiter than white and want him hung, drawn and quartered.
“Suddenly the filth that’s been spewing towards managers is just ‘banter’.
“Neil Lennon gets more of it than most of us. I couldn’t say whether he fuels it, if he enjoys it, courts it even. Maybe he thrives on it for an adrenaline rush. I don’t know.”
Rangers’ clash with Hibernian was a game that was full on controversy as not only did it give Caixinha’s men their first domestic loss of the season against a newly-promoted side, but it also paved way for Lennon’s return to Ibrox as well as a questionable refereeing performance.
John Beaton controversially gave Ryan Jack his marching orders in the first half while the scores were level, as well as dishing out six further yellow cards to Gers players, who couldn’t stop Hibs from taking away all three points.