RANGERS and Hibernian’s first meeting since the 2016 Scottish Cup final was a predictably feisty affair with plenty of controversy and ill-feeling during and after a 3-2 win for the Edinburgh club at Ibrox.
Neil Lennon angered the Rangers bench with his celebration after his side’s equaliser. The club’s assistant manager, Helder Baptista, spoke to a police offer after the incident but it’s unclear what was said.
Pedro Caixinha was unhappy at referee John Beaton’s decision to send off Ryan Jack in the first-half, it was a dubious call and one which changed the game, and particularly contention because the official didn’t show a red card to Hibs player Dylan McGeouch who was let off with a foul when on a booking.
Caixinha said: “I came here to Scotland to work and give my very best and all the time defend this massive club, and I will do it till my last. If we have too many people against us . . . we just keep going, and keep going, and harder and harder, and together and stronger.
“But I tell you something, if I listened to what I listened to today with the other manager, the fourth official, the way he goes, so that allows me to go the same way, if I want. But I’m not having the same principles, the same education, the same point of view. Your opponents’ team is allowed to have two coaches on the technical area, we are also allowed to have it. My focus is defend this institution; my focus is [to] defend this player.”
Asked about Lennon making an arm gesture to the Rangers fans, Caixinha said: “You didn’t see the match? You didn’t see the attitude? You may write it. If you have character, you may write it. If you saw it, write it. Don’t ask me to tell it and then after you write it, you say I said it, so do it! It’s not about that [Lennon influencing the officials]. I’m not talking about influence, I’m talking about having the same treatment. OK. Having the same treatment. That’s all I think.”
For Lennon’s point of view, he did not see what the fuss was all about but wasn’t happy at the perceived actions of a member of Rangers coaching staff.
The Hibs manager said: “I’m celebrating a goal, so what way are you supposed to celebrate a goal? If I pick my nose somebody will find something to criticise me for. I’m celebrating a goal – so that’s the end of it.
“You are looking for things that aren’t there. I didn’t make a gesture, I celebrated a goal, if they are unhappy with that they can see me. But I shouldn’t get into trouble for that.”
Asked about Baptista, Lennon said: “I don’t know what he said. I assume he was unhappy with something. There were a few things that went on in their dugout I was unhappy about but didn’t go running off to people and telling them about it.”