NEIL LENNON had an eventual afternoon yesterday, as he usually does whenever he’s visited Ibrox as a player or a manager.
Yesterday he took his Hibs side to Easter Road and was full of confidence and bravado in advance predicting that Hibs would win and reminding the Rangers fans who were awaiting him at Ibrox that he’s not been there since 2012, the year that the old Rangers went into liquidation.
He got the result he wanted and predicted and perhaps, sadly what was even more predictable was the level of gutter bigotry, sectarianism and hatred directed at Lennon because of where he is from, his religion and the fact that he is a former Celtic player and manager.
The irony of these supporters indulging in fake outrage at a gesture or two made in their direction as a response is something to behold. Do some of them sit with women and children as they pour out their bile?
Lennon plays along. He has long since realised that there’s nothing else to do as Scottish society refuses to recognise or address the core caused of this hatred within our society.
Yesterday the Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha was asked by the media to comment on the gestures made towards the home support by the Hibs manager, but not asked whether he thought that visiting manager should be the subject of the hatred that poured from the stands that Charles Green purchased in 2012.
Yet when Pedro actually uses the words, ‘We are The People’ in his post match interview you get the feeling that the mindset has now washed over everyone connected with this club.
The Portuguese isn’t from that culture of course, and uses these phrases that are being fed to him to appease the supporters. It makes the manager look foolish and when you lose your credibility in football management it can become a lonely life.
Apparently the Rangers assistant boss Helder Baptista even involved the Police to complain about the celebrations, led by Lennon, in the away dug-out as his side romped into a 3-1 lead after conceding in the first few minutes. Rangers pulled one back late on but Hibs held on comfortably enough for yet another 3-2 victory over the Ibrox side.
“He should have got back in his box,” Lennon observed later.
“Funny enough he didn’t have something to say to me.
“I don’t know what he was saying, I assume he was unhappy about something.
“I didn’t make a gesture, I celebrated a goal.
“If they are unhappy about it they can come and tell me.
“But I shouldn’t get into trouble for doing that.
“I am celebrating a goal. What way are you supposed to celebrate a goal?
“If I pick my nose someone will find something to criticise me for, I am celebrating a goal.
“You are looking for things that aren’t there.”
Caixinha’s complaint that Lennon was given special treatment from the fourth official, Euan Anderson, is so petty that it is almost funny.
“I am not talking about influence, I am talking about having the same treatment,” wined Caixinha.
“If the opponents are allowed to have two coaches in the technical area, we are also allowed to have it.
“If I listen to what I listened to today, with the other manager getting to the fourth official the way he did, that allows me to go the same way but I don’t have the same principles.”
Caixinha, out of Europe after the hugely embarrassing and financially disastrous defeat to Progres in Luxembourg, now finds himself trailing Celtic, Hibs and Aberdeen by three points after only two matches.
It could be that the Bears turn their fury towards him in the coming weeks and no ‘We are The People’ statements will save him at that stage.
Caixinha is a manger under pressure.