Templeton implores authorities not to ruin Tynecastle's great match atmosphere

DAVID TEMPLETON today called on Scotland's footballing authorities not to punish decent Hearts supporters following the disgraceful scenes at Tynecastle on Wednesday night.

The winger admitted he was horrified as Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, was allegedly attacked during the game by a man who had emerged from the main stand. Templeton believes the incident tarnished the reputation of respectable Hearts supporters and urged the investigating SPL officials to apply common sense over any sanctions.

In particular, he feels it would be wrong to reduce capacity or bring back fences to prevent fans entering the field of play.

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"That would obviously kill the atmosphere. Hopefully, the fans can behave," said Templeton. "You don't want to ruin what is a great atmosphere at Tynecastle.

"Everyone else was great on Wednesday night and it was a great atmosphere from both sets of fans.

"I'm sure the club did everything they could to try and stop it so hopefully nothing happens. Because the fans are so close to the pitch it's so hard to stop someone from jumping a barrier. It's so easily done.

"I feel sorry for Neil Lennon, I think it's a joke what's happening with him. What is happening has nothing to do with football. I hope everything gets sorted and that the people who have threatened him get what they deserve. It's not just him, it's his family getting threatened as well."

Templeton recalled the shock amongst the Hearts players who, like him, were not involved in the match and were situated behind the home dugout. "I was still watching Celtic celebrate their second goal and I saw everybody stand up and look down towards the technical area. It was mayhem and it took everything away from a good night for the fans.

"Tynecastle has a great atmosphere and those are the games you want to play in. That's why you grew up to be a footballer because that's what makes you want to play. We were supposed to be going out and enjoying ourselves ahead of next season after finishing third but that took the shine off it. I don't think you ever think of that kind of thing happening. You don't expect it to be brought into football.

"It was disappointing to see it and hopefully nothing will happen like that again. Everyone was a bit surprised by what went on. Neil Lennon would have been really shocked. It's embarrassing and you don't want to see that. I think Edinburgh derbies are always more hostile but there is something special about playing Celtic. The fans get really up for that game. It's a great atmosphere to play in and you don't want any trouble starting. You want to enjoy yourself and you want the fans to enjoy yourself. I think Tynecastle is one of the best places to play. With the fans so close to the pitch it makes it a bit more special."