Interview | Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster talks Rudi Skacel, Kris Commons & Peter Lawwell influence

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

LEEANN DEMPSTER has emphasised that Hibernian will not tolerate any unacceptable conduct from their supporters – but, in a thinly veiled criticism of Rudi Skacel, insists players must be held to the same standards.

The Hibs chief executive last night responded to claims by the Hearts legend that he was called a “refugee” and abused by a swathe of the Easter Road crowd during a recent visit to Leith with Raith Rovers.

Having examined the reports which followed the fixtures, she has confirmed that those accusations are unsubstantiated but vowed to take the issue seriously, should Skacel decide to make an official complaint.

The Czech playmaker fumed “I had small kids and their parents calling me names, how would you react if people called you a refugee?” following the 1-1 draw last month. He also labelled those supporters “embarrassing”.

Tensions were heightened when he gave a provocative 5-1 gesture to the homes fans as he left the field, in reference to the Jambos’ handsome Scottish Cup triumph over the Hibees in 2012, in which Skacel scored a double.

Dempster said: “I’m very happy to address that. I read those comments and, after reading them, I took the opportunity to look at the official match documents of the SPFL and speak to our safety officer.

“It was confirmed that nothing was reported to us. I certainly wasn’t aware of anything on the day and did not hear anything.

“However, if Rudi feels like he would like to make a complaint to the club then he is free to do that. We take any unacceptable conduct very seriously, from any of our supporters. Equally, I would say that applies to players as well.

“There is nothing that I can see that reports anything happening on the day, however there is of course a responsibility on fans – and players – for how they conduct themselves.”

Dempster, speaking as she received a commemorative trophy on behalf of Scottish Cup sponsors William Hill to celebrate their historic triumph last May, also confirmed the club are in talks to re-sign Kris Commons after his loan expired last weekend.

Cup sponsors William Hill presented Hibs with a cup to commemorate their triumph last May

The mercurial playmaker was training with Celtic against yesterday, but the Hibees have not given up hope of signing him until the end of the season following a 28-day stint that saw him score twice in five outings; match-winning strikes against Falkirk and Dumbarton.

“We have spoken to Celtic about the possibility of that happening and there may be some opportunity there,” continued Dempster. “That is a conversation we will continue to have directly with the club and the player to see if we can take it to a conclusion.

“It is probably too early to say one way or another, but we’ve had a conversation and it is not something we have completely ruled out.

“The transfer window does not shut until the 31st and my experience is that there is always something more to come, another opportunity.”

Meanwhile, straight-talking Dempster has mocked the suggestion that Celtic chief executive wields too much power in Scottish football.

The accusation was made on BBC Scotland’s Sportsound programme on Wednesday evening by former St Mirren owner Stewart Gilmour, and was met with derision from the corridors of power at Easter Road.

“Peter runs the game? I thought I did? That’s disappointing,” she laughed. “No, I deal with Peter, just as a deal with other people in the game, and that is one view. But it is not one I could make a serious comment on.”

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