BY DARREN JOHNSTONE @CCP_Sport
Queen of the South forward Derek Lyle admits he has Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs to thank for restraining him after being challenged to a fight in the Easter Road tunnel.
Tensions were high at the end of a dramatic game that was settled by Dom Malonga’s controversial 94th minute winner on Saturday and Lyle, who had already been substituted, was in no mood to back down.
Although the experienced striker refused to reveal the identity of the player who was keen for a scrap, it is believed that Farid El Alagui, who was not in the Hibs match-day squad, is the man in question.
But before the 34-year-old could even get to the tunnel, Lyle was held back by Hibs gaffer Stubbs.
Lyle said: “The fans were giving me a bit of stick, I was giving it back. That’s fine, it happens in football.
“But one of their players, a guy who wasn’t even stripped – I won’t even mention his name – wanted me in the tunnel for a fight.
“So, spur of the moment, I was going to go down the tunnel with him. But we got split up, Alan Stubbs told me to leave it.
“For a boy who is not even in the squad, not even on the bench, to want me in the tunnel – when I don’t even know the boy, either – is a mystery to me.
“But I’m not going to back down from him, anyway, so I was ready to go down the tunnel with him.
“It was broken up at that point but, to be fair to their manager and backroom staff, they told me not to react to him.
“Alan Stubbs couldn’t be any nicer, he said: “You played well, now keep the head because it’s a long season – you don’t want to be suspended.
“He was 100 per cent right.”
Hibs climbed level with Rangers at the summit at the weekend but Lyle still expects the Glasgow club to be crowned Championship winners.
He added: “I would have to say Rangers have got a wee bit more than Hibs.
“Hibs are a really good team with some great players but, personally, I believe Rangers will pip them.
“It may come down to what happens in January, who they sign. But, at this minute, I feel Rangers have got a wee bit more than Hibs.”