Queen of the South striker Derek Lyle has accused a Hibernian player of challenging him to a fight in the tunnel after Saturday’s controversial 1-0 home Championship win for the Easter Road side.
A volatile final few minutes of the match erupted in even more acrimony at full time, with Lyle claiming he was accosted by a Hibs player, not named by the Doonhamers’ player, but understood to be Farid El Alagui, as they were about to head off the pitch.
Fired up by a sense of injustice following Hibs’ stoppage-time winner, which took them level on points with Rangers at the top of the table, Lyle admitted he was about to accept. He said: “The fans were giving me a bit of stick, I was giving it back. That’s fine, it happens in football. But one of their players, a guy who wasn’t even stripped – I won’t even mention his name – wanted me in the tunnel for a fight.
‘So, spur of the moment, I was going to go down the tunnel with him. But we got split up, [Hibs manager] Alan Stubbs told me to leave it. Alan Stubbs couldn’t have been any nicer, he said: ‘You played well, now keep the head because it’s a long season – you don’t want to be suspended’.
“He was 100 per cent right. ‘I said: ‘Fair enough, but it’s your player. Your player is antagonising me’.”
El Alagui has only played 30 minutes of first-team football this season, and Lyle says he was perplexed by his behaviour. The striker added: “For a boy who is not even in the squad, not even on the bench, to want me in the tunnel is a mystery to me. I don’t see why they felt the need to get confrontational when they’ve won the game. They should be celebrating, when they’ve scored in the last minute to win.”
Referee Brian Colvin sparked fury among the Queens’ players when he appeared to give the home side an advantage at a drop ball, which was quickly played up the park for the only goal. The official also did not immediately allow Kyle Hutton back on the field after treatment. Lyle added: “He told us it’s a drop ball but then he throws it to a Hibs player, they break up the park – and Kyle Hutton, who would have been in the box at the time – isn’t allowed on the park. It’s a hard one to take, without someone having a needle at you at full-time as well.”
The two teams are awaiting Colvin’s report to see if there is likely to be further SFA action.