Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish

Morton star tried to break Foster's leg, blasts Neil Lennon as Hibs boss red-carded

Hibernian 0-0 Greenock Morton

By Adam McKendry

Hibernian boss Neil Lennon was sent off following a mass injury-time brawl as tempers flared in his side's 0-0 draw with Greenock Morton at Easter Road last night.

Ulsterman Lennon was sent to the stands and had to be restrained after having a go at Morton boss Jim Duffy, who was also given his marching orders, as players from both teams clashed.

Afterwards, former Northern Ireland international Lennon was defiant and defended his actions.

"Here's my take on it," said the Lurgan man. "Their guy (Kudus Oyenuga) tried to break Jordon Foster's leg. And then Darren McGregor goes over and he (Oyenuga) feigns a headbutt.

"He goes down holding his face when Darren hasn't made any contact. And then the next thing I've got is the Morton manager asking for a square go, which is fair enough, I'm not going to back down.

"And then I've got the assistant manager, then I've got the Morton players. But it'll be 'Bad Ol' Lenny'.

"It'll be Lenny's fault, blah blah blah. I didn't react in any other way than any other manager would have reacted."

Tensions had been threatening to spill over for most of the match, but the brawl began after Morton's substitute striker Oyenuga sent Foster to the floor, which then led to Hibs defender McGregor going head-to-head with Oyenuga, who also ended up on the turf.

That sparked the mayhem, which saw nearly every player on both sides involved, and the two managers attempted to go toe-to-toe. In the aftermath, red cards were issued to Oyenuga and McGregor on the playing side, with Lennon and Duffy dismissed as well.

It was a chaotic end to what had been a tight affair at the top of the Scottish Championship, with Lennon's Hibs aiming to take a huge step towards securing the title and automatic promotion back to the Premiership.

Morton too had a lot on the line - an unlikely away win would have kept them within touching distance of the Championship leaders, albeit still a way behind.

From the start it was clear which side were going to be the more likely to score as Hibs' James McGinn hammered a first-minute shot into the woodwork.

Morton could do nothing more than amount a bit of sustained pressure upon the Hibs penalty area early on, but chances were limited on their end with the hosts looking sharp, if not clinical, at the other.

Time and again Hibs were frustrated, especially in the second period, as first Jason Cummings fired over a free-kick from a dangerous position, and then the officials managed to miss Morton's Derek Gaston blatantly gathering the ball in his arms outside the box, arguably a red card offence.

Chances came and went for the Edinburgh side, with Lennon throwing on another striker in former Morton man Brian Graham, but to no avail.

All that was left was for the fireworks of the finish to explode into life, a costly brawl which will likely see Lennon, and defender McGregor, spend an extended spell in the stands as Hibs continue their chase for the title and prepare for a Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen next month.

HIBERNIAN: Marciano, Ambrose, McGregor, Hanlon (Forster 87), Stevenson, Boyle, Bartley, McGinn, Keatings, Holt (Graham 66), Cummings (McGeouch 86). Subs not used: Laidlaw, McLean, Fyvie, Martin.

GREENOCK MORTON: Gaston, Doyle, Lamie, O'Ware, Russell, Forbes (Oyenuga 84), Lindsay, Murdoch, Tidser, Nesbitt, Oliver (Shankland 88). Subs not used: Donnelly, McGowan, Scullion, Strapp, Tiffoney.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph