Just over a week ago, I posted this on Twitter…
Was the penalty soft? Aye.
Was it actually a penalty? Also aye.
— View from Gorgie (@ViewfromGorgie) October 28, 2018
Now I’m going to ask a similar question in the same way.
Did Neil Lennon deserve to get hit with a coin during the Edinburgh Derby? Of course he didn’t!
Does Neil Lennon shoulder some of the blame for the incident happening? Well… that’s an altogether more difficult question to answer.
Picture the scene…
You are in a pub, having a nice night out with friends. A short distance from you, a member of another group lets a pint glass slip through their fingers: it hits the ground, smashes and covers several pairs of legs in foaming 80/.
You, who are feeling rather excitable because of the fine night you are having, turn to face the other group, hold your arms aloft and start laughing hysterically at them, before telling the unlucky individual “Don’t give up the day job, juggling obviously isn’t your thing!”
… … …
“What happened?” you say, as you slowly come back to your senses after being lifted from the ground.
Your mates inform you that one of the members of the other group lost the rag and floored you with a hay-maker: he is currently sitting in the local police station and, at the very least, is now barred from the pub.
Did you DESERVE the punch that you got? No!
Do you have any responsibility for the way the end of your night turned out? Actually, in my opinion, yes, you do.
You see, it boils down to this. By you laughing at somebody’s misfortune you are, effectively, goading them. You WANT to see a reaction from them (albeit the reaction you want to see is embarrassment) but, sometimes, the reaction you get is one that, whilst not “expected” can never be discounted. In essence, the only way you could be one hundred percent sure that somebody from the wet-trousered group wouldn’t land one on you as a result of the mishap would be to not give them a reason TO land one on you. And, while it isn’t an “excuse” for you being assaulted, it most definitely IS a “reason”.
Lennon is clearly a very complex individual and has the same type of personality as several guys I have known in my life. They, as Neil Lennon does, demand the respect of everybody they meet, DEMAND it. Do they deserve that respect? Beyond the basic human respect of “you don’t run about hitting and throwing shit at people” no, in a good few of the cases, they don’t.
People can “command” respect due to achievements made throughout their lives. Look at Sir Alex Ferguson for example: unquestionably one of the best football managers in history. But, to command THAT kind of respect, you first have to “earn” respect. Ask yourself honestly, if Ferguson had conducted himself in the same way that Lennon does, would the level of respect in which he is regarded be the same as it is?
Then again, even without goading behaviour, Neil Lennon has had to put up with things, as a result of his profession, that nobody should be put through: death threats, bullets in the post etc etc etc. It’s possibly quite easy to see WHY he behaves the way he does… “You won’t break me!” kind of thing.
And that’s when we come back to last night’s embarrassing behaviour at Tynecastle.
I say again, Neil Lennon did NOT deserve to have a coin thrown at him.
Had Lennon “celebrated” his side being thrown a life-line by the officials by remaining facing the pitch, maybe having a wee fist pump or three, all the while coaching his players; “stay focused, lads… keep fighting”, that kinda thing, you know, the kinda thing ninety (perhaps more) percent of the Premiership managers would have done, there would have been a vastly higher chance of him NOT being hit by a coin. And that is a plain fact, just the same as the one in the beer spilling scenario.
The guy (and let’s be honest, it was a guy… women simply don’t go to football matches to throw shit at people… which is a very telling point in its own right) who threw the coin at Lennon is, quite clearly, an arsehole. Just as the clown who ran into the Tynecastle technical areas to attack Lennon, while he was manager of Celtic, is an arsehole.
Should Lennon HAVE to change his behaviour on the touchline? Well, no, he shouldn’t. Then again, should a man who is constantly being bitten by dogs HAVE to stop putting his hand in dogs’ mouths? Again, no, but it would surely stop him being bitten.
And that, for me, is where Neil Lennon’s responsibility in all of this begins and ends. Was he “goading” the Hearts fans over that disallowed goal? Yes he was.
Did he get the reaction he was hoping for? No, I think we all know that he didn’t.
Does he deserve some of the responsibility for eliciting a response from a colossally stupid Hearts fan? Yes, he does.
Did he deserve to have a coin thrown at him?…
No, he did not.
Does the guy who threw the coin deserve to be banned from Tynecastle?
Yes, he absolutely does.