Hearts v Hibs: Talk of closed doors derby is ‘nonsense’ says Craig Levein

Hearts boss Craig Levein speaks to the media ahead of his side's match with Celtic. Picture: SNS Group
Hearts boss Craig Levein speaks to the media ahead of his side's match with Celtic. Picture: SNS Group
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Hearts manager Craig Levein called for a considered approach to improving safety at the Edinburgh derby after warning against an overreaction to the midweek scenes at Tynecastle.

Both assistant referees and Hibs head coach Neil Lennon were hit by missiles on Wednesday while Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal was struck by a fan, and Hibs players complained of being targeted by missiles.

Levein with Hibs counterpart Neil Lennon before the match. Picture: SNS Group

Levein with Hibs counterpart Neil Lennon before the match. Picture: SNS Group

But Levein said: “There were 20,000 people there and five arrests. Of course we have all spoken at length about the seriousness of the incidents but I repeat there were five people arrested at the match. 
“It’s not as if there was a full-scale war.

“Definitely people went across the line and we just need to make sure that it’s highlighted that people behave themselves from now.”

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SNP MSP James Dornan stated he was reviving attempts to introduce strict liability in Scottish football in the wake of the trouble - a move that would lead to clubs taking responsibility for the behaviour of their fans and potentially leading to ground closures.

But Levein said: “I don’t want to talk about playing a derby match in front of no people. It’s nonsense.

“Listen, there’s idiots everywhere and it’s very difficult to control 20,000 people. It’s like most things, when something happens we go right to the other end of the scale. 
“There have been worse situations in Scottish football. We just have to take a step back and consider the best way to deal with it rather than everyone getting too excited.”