Rangers fan group Club 1872 have issued a statement condemning Hibs manager Neil Lennon’s “failed attempt to incite trouble”.
Hibs prevailed 3-2 in an ill-tempered encounter at Ibrox on Saturday, which included a controversial red card for Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack.
The Hibs boss came in for criticism from the Rangers management team with Ibrox assistant Helder Baptista making a complaint to the police about his conduct, while Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha also criticised his behaviour towards fourth official Euan Anderson.
Following Simon Murray’s equalising goal, after Alfredo Morelos put Rangers ahead, Lennon turned towards the Ibrox Main Stand, cupping his ears and making a provocative arm-gesture in celebration.
Club 1872, the second largest shareholder in Rangers International Football Club PLC, released a statement on Sunday praising the home support, while hitting out at Lennon for his “inflammatory gestures”.
“Club 1872 would like to commend the restraint of the Rangers support following a clear attempt by Hibernian manager, Neil Lennon, to incite trouble at yesterday’s game at Ibrox,” it read.
“Rangers and Club 1872 are always keen to remind our supporters of their duty to act as ambassadors for our club but that duty is not one that applies only to Rangers supporters.
“Mr Lennon has previous for abusing and goading both Rangers staff and supporters. He seems completely unable to control himself at Ibrox. We can only speculate as to why. His actions in the dugout yesterday – where he made various inflammatory gestures to the supporters sitting directly behind the Hibernian dugout – were not becoming of any football manager, never mind one who likes to play the victim when things do not go his way. It is inexplicable that the fourth official chose to take no action against him at the time but, against the backdrop of possibly the worst refereeing performance ever seen at Ibrox, perhaps we should not be surprised.
“Mr Lennon has been extensively quoted in the media as saying that he “didn’t make a gesture”. If that quote is accurate then he is not only irresponsible but a liar.
“Had a Rangers supporter reacted to Mr Lennon’s actions yesterday then we would no doubt have been treated to further dramatic headlines about the persecution he has to suffer. Instead we have seen several media commentators make jokes about Lennon’s conduct. It is only because of the good sense of our supporters that they are in a position to do so.
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“Police Scotland categorised this match as high risk due to the behaviour of Hibernian supporters at the Scottish Cup Final in 2016 when Rangers players were attacked on the pitch. Neil Lennon knew that and he knew he had a responsibility to act in an appropriate manner. He shirked that responsibility and reverted to type.
“We hope that Police Scotland will speak directly to Mr Lennon over the coming days and at the very least give him a warning over his future conduct at Ibrox. We also expect the SPFL to take action against Mr Lennon over his failed attempt to incite trouble.”
Following Jack’s red card Hibs took the lead through a James Tavernier own goal. Lithuanian midfielder Vykintas Slivka added a third on his first Hibs start before Tavernier reduced the deficit in the final ten minutes.
In the aftermath of the game a petition was started to end “anti-Rangers refereeing that is happening way too often”. It has already garnered nearly 4,000 of the targeted 5,000 signatures before being sent to the Scottish FA.