Former SFA chief Gordon Smith has said that Hibs boss Neil Lennon was wrong to gesture to the Hearts fans during last week’s goalless Edinburgh derby.
However, the former Rangers director of football said that Kris Boyd’s celebrations in front of the Aberdeen fans following his goal for Kilmarnock were a “laugh and a joke”.
Smith called for a regulation to prevent managers from reacting to fans on BBC Sportsound on Monday evening when discussing the incident which saw Lennon struck by a coin thrown from the Main Stand at Tynecastle after he gestured to the home fans to calm down after a late goal was chalked off.
“The way he’s treated is disgraceful,” said Smith. “I would consider him as a friend, I know Neil well. If I was a chairman of a club, at the SFA or even if it was my son that was involved I would say you should not be reacting to the crowd.
“What happens if players score a goal, why do they get booked when they go to the opposition crowd? They are trying to avoid anyone inciting the crowd. Players can’t even celebrate a goal nowadays because they are told not to do it.
“I would say it should be the same for managers. Just ignore the people. Neil was wrong to react to the incident which happened with the Hearts fans. Any manager should be the same.
“There should be a regulation in the game that managers don’t react to the fans.
He added: “Any manager, even if it was my own son, I would be saying to him you were wrong to do it. No one should do it. You should ignore the away fans. I was St Mirren assistant manager once at Celtic Park getting abuse from Celtic fans behind me and I didn’t even turn round.”
However, fellow pundit and ex-Hearts and Hibs midfielder Michael Stewart questioned Smith’s view, bringing up the Boyd incident from Sunday’s match between Killie and Aberdeen.
Smith said: “It was a kind of a laugh and a joke. He was at home but didn’t go off the field. He (Lennon) was in his technical area right in front of the Hearts fans.”
Stewart disagreed with Smith’s take and didn’t feel Lennon had done anything wrong, an opinion supported by Scotland assistant manager James McFadden.
“You can’t distinguish between that and what Neil Lennon does and say he should be punish and Boyd’s a laugh,” said Stewart.
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