Hearts and Hibs join to condemn derby trouble

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Hearts and Hibernian have come together to condemn trouble at the Edinburgh derby which saw Neil Lennon struck by a coin, a player attacked by a fan and two assistant referees assaulted.

Hibs boss Lennon was struck in the face by a pound coin after Hearts had a stoppage-time goal ruled out for offside in the match at Tynecastle Park on Wednesday night.

Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal was also floored by an apparent attack from a supporter during the goalless match at Tynecastle Park on Wednesday while the Scottish FA (SFA) said two match officials were struck by objects.

Police Scotland said five people were arrested at the game, including a 25-year-old man over an assault on an assistant referee, but the other major incidents are still being investigated.

Hearts owner Ann Budge and Hibernian chief executive Leeann Dempster met on Thursday to discuss the issues.

Ms Budge said: “We will work closely with Police Scotland and Hibernian to identify the individuals involved in these incidents to ensure they are banned from attending our two stadiums and are formally charged.

“While we condemn such behaviour, we must not fall into the trap of condemning the thousands of genuine football fans, who come to be entertained and who do nothing more than passionately support their respective teams.

“Of the five arrests made last night, one of them was made possible because fellow supporters identified the culprits. By working together in this manner we will succeed in removing the tiny percentage of fans, whose behaviour spoils things for the majority.”

Ms Dempster said: “Players, coaches, supporters, the media, everyone who goes to a football match is entitled to enjoy the match in safety and security.

“We will not allow the mindless actions of a few foolish individuals to jeopardise that.

“We will learn any lessons that we can from this, but we would also call on supporters to play their part in helping us to identify those responsible for this kind of unacceptable and potentially dangerous behaviour.”

Lennon was previously assaulted by a Hearts fan on the touchline when he was Celtic manager in 2011.

Speaking after the game on Wednesday, 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.”

The Hearts goalkeeper took to Twitter to brand the troublemakers “losers”.

SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell said: “In addition to the well-documented incidents that saw Neil Lennon and Zdenek Zlamal left on the receiving end of cowardly attacks from the stands, I am sorry to confirm that two of our match officials were also struck by objects.

“Knowing the clubs involved as I do, I know no stone will be left unturned – in conjunction with the relevant authorities – to identify the individuals responsible and ensure the relevant steps are taken to leave them in no doubt that such actions will not be tolerated by Scottish football.”

Chief Inspector Murray Starkey, match commander, added: “Police Scotland condemn the mindless acts of violence which included missiles being thrown during last night’s Edinburgh derby.”

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