Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has condemned comments from Partick Thistle boss Gary Caldwell and others, who have claimed that Neil Lennon brings things upon himself.
The Hibernian manager was felled by a £1 coin thrown at him by a Hearts supporter at Tynecastle on Wednesday after he signalled to home fans behind him to quell their celebrations when a late goal was disallowed in the 0-0 Edinburgh derby draw.
Caldwell, a former Celtic team-mate of Lennon’s, questioned his willingness to engage with rival supporters. But Rodgers defended the Hibs boss. “It shouldn’t even be a question,” Rodgers said. “You get some coaches who’ll participate with the crowd when there’s banter coming from the stands and it goes back and forth. Okay, but you should never be hit with a coin when you are at your place of work.”
Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal was also punched by a Hibs supporter and two assistant referees struck by missiles.
“It’s disappointing when you see it,” Rodgers said. “I look at the bigger picture of how it represents Scottish football. I don’t think it’s a true reflection of the passion up here. You look at these grounds and it’s very intense and hostile but the bigger picture is we don’t want that as a representation of the Scottish Premiership and society.”
Rodgers stressed, though, that he has never felt he was in jeopardy inside a stadium during his managerial career in England, Wales and Scotland.
“No, never; I think I was nearly hit with a pie somewhere but touch wood, I’ve never had anything like that. I’ve enjoyed the intensity and the hostility.
“You go to these games and that’s what you love. We’re all different as managers, with different traits and personalities, but no matter who it is, you still have to be able to work in an environment that’s safe.”