Frustrated Hibernian boss Neil Lennon has criticised what he calls double standards and hypocrisy after pointing out the different reactions to his and Jose Mourinho’s touchline taunts.
The Easter Road manager was left furious when he was accused of goading a Hearts supporter into throwing a coin during last week’s Edinburgh derby.
His former Celtic team-mate Gary Caldwell claimed Lennon “brings a lot of it on himself” after he was felled by a missile hurled from the Tynecastle support when he cheered a disallowed Jambos goal.
Lennon rejected that suggestion last week as he insisted he was targeted because he was a Northern Irish catholic who had played for Celtic.
And he raised the issue again at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s clash with Aberdeen after watching how Mourinho’s ear-cupping gesture following Manchester United’s last-gasp Champions League win over Juventus had failed to spark a similar kind of outcry.
He said: “I enjoyed Mourinho after the game yesterday, I knew exactly how he was feeling.
“But the reaction smacks of double standards and hypocrisy. That’s where we are with the game up here sometimes.
“The reaction to Jose was, ‘it’s banter, it’s fun, love it’.
“That’s the mainstream down there, up here it’s goading, inciting violence, inciting a riot. We’re human beings at the end of the day.
“There’s a reason why Jose did it and I totally understand why he did it. The whole narrative is frustrating.”
There was fresh missile controversy on Saturday when Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos was hit with a coin whilst celebrating his goal against St Mirren.
Lennon says it is now time to crack down hard on the culprits but insists it would be wrong to bring in strict liability measures that would see clubs punished on behalf of trouble-making fans.
“It’s down to the individuals,” he stressed. “You’d think after what happened on Wednesday night that would be the end of it.
“Then you see what happens to Alfredo when he’s just celebrating a goal. Hopefully they get them and they are punished severely.
“It has to be a deterrent, the punishment has to make people think I can’t do stuff like that.
“The authorities should be doing more about it to come up with a solution. Is it worthy of a custodial sentence? Maybe.
“Taking away somebody’s season ticket isn’t enough, I don’t think.”
Asked if closing stands was a measure that should be considered, he replied: “You’re punishing the clubs then and I think that’s getting too extreme as you’re then punishing the other supporters, 99.9 per cent who are just there to enjoy a game of football.”