Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers assistant Ally McCoist had to be dragged apart by players and security staff following angry scenes at the close of Celtic’s ill-tempered 1-0 win over Rangers at Parkhead.
Lennon and McCoist shook hands at full time. But Lennon then appeared to react angrily to something said by McCoist. After pointing his finger in McCoist’s face, Lennon was pulled away and McCoist was ushered down the tunnel.
The clash came at the end of an unruly derby in which three Rangers players were sent off. Steven Whittaker and Madjid Bougherra were dismissed – both for second bookings – during the game and El-Hadji Diouf was dismissed after full time.
Rangers manager Walter Smith, who will be succeeded by McCoist at the end of the season, said: “These are things that happen in the games. I don’t know what happened [between McCoist and Lennon.] I go up the tunnel and keep myself away from those things.”
“But the problem there was quite simple. Alistair was quite annoyed that Neil was being aggressive towards one of the Rangers players. That annoyed him more than anything else.”
Smith was critical of match referee Calum Murray, saying of the Whittaker and Bougherra dismissals: “I didn’t think these warranted orderings off. I didn’t think the referee handled that aspect of it very well.”
On Diouf he added: “He’s an easy target for everybody, isn’t he, so to be honest I don’t know what happened so I can’t really comment on that one.”
Celtic coach Alan Thompson is confident harmony will be restored between Lennon and McCoist.
“There was a handshake as there always is and Ally felt something happened in the game and mentioned it to Neil and there was a reaction,” said Thompson.
“I’m sure Ally and Neil will sit down and sort that out between themselves.”