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Neil Lennon blames Rangers chiefs and players for Ibrox crisis

By Ronnie Esplin

Neil Lennon has leapt to the defence of rival Rangers boss Graeme Murty, insisting it is the Ibrox players and directors who are responsible for their latest mess.

Gers boss Murty has found himself in the firing line following his side’s humiliating 4-0 defeat to Celtic in last weekend’s  Scottish Cup semi-final.

Rangers then suspended club captain Lee Wallace and experienced striker Kenny Miller amid claims they undermined Murty during a heated post-match analysis.

Yet with Dave King’s board yet to offer a single word of reassurance to the exasperated Light Blues faithful, Murty will again be forced to face the music when he returns to the dugout for Sunday’s visit of Hearts to Ibrox.

The reception from Gers fans is certain to be chilly but Hibs and former Celtic boss Lennon has sympathy for his Gers counterpart and thinks he has been let down by those around him.

“I think Graeme is in a really difficult position because he’s been interim manager for what, five or six months now?,” said the Easter Road boss.

“What does that say to the players? ‘Oh things are going well, so great’. But if things don’t go so well? ‘Oh well, he’s not the manager’.

“Ultimately the buck stops with the manager but it’s the same players that were under (Pedro) Caixinha and it wasn’t Graeme’s fault at the start of the season.”

Lennon added: “Maybe those players need to look at themselves and say, ‘I’ve not done enough this season’.”

Murty cut a dejected and lonely figure as he stood on the Hampden sidelines unable to hold back the green and white tide crashing down on his side.

It is a feeling Lennon knows only too well after being sacked by Bolton.

And while his team remains in a race with Gers for second, it did not stop the Northern Irishman offering some words of advice to his rival boss.

“I’d dig in,” he said. “It’s been a difficult week but being a manager isn’t a bed of roses.

“You’re going to have bad experiences. You’re going to get the sack at some stage — that’s probably a guarantee.

“But utilise the experience to your benefit and come out stronger.”

Following the alleged dressing room bust-up, Miller will not play again for Rangers with his contract up in the summer and reports say Motherwell and Hibs could be set to offer the veteran hitman the chance to relaunch his career next season.

But while Lennon admits he failed in a bid to lure the former Scotland striker back to Leith earlier this term, he has yet to make contact this time round.

He said: “Kenny’s a winner. He’s 38 and still very fit. That’s testament to being a very good professional — not someone who just chucks in the towel.

“We tried to get him at the start of the season as I like him a lot. But at the minute he’s a Rangers player and the reports are just speculation.”

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