Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon admits that he actually admires Motherwell’s aggressive approach, following public condemnation of the Lanarkshire side’s style.
Prior to being dismissed as Rangers manager on Thursday, Pedro Caixinha said the Fir Park outfit will not finish next month’s Betfred Cup final against Celtic with eleven men on the pitch after Steelmen striker Ryan Bowman broke Fabio Cardoso’s nose with a flailing arm during his side’s 2-0 semi-final defeat last Sunday.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers also claimed that some of the challenges ‘endangered players’ lives and careers’.
“I like the way Motherwell play,’ said Lennon, whose side are three points adrift of today’s opponents.
“They play to their strengths and I know there was a lot of controversy after the game last week but I can’t comment because I haven’t seen some of the incidents.
“I know it’s been well publicised this week, but from my experience of playing them this season it was a good game.
“There was a good tempo to it, good physicality to it but they play the game in an honest sort of way.
“It got a wee bit tasty on Sunday but I can’t possibly criticise Motherwell for adopting that sort of approach and I won’t. They play a certain way and it’s been very effective for them so far.”
Defender Efe Ambrose insists Hibs need to be ready to fight fire with fire against Motherwell.
“They fight for every ball,” said the former Celtic player.
“With the style of play people think they are crazy, but that’s their style and you cannot take it away from them.
“You have to match them in those areas. They do not like to keep possession, they prefer to go long to their strikers because they have a pattern of play around a 3-5-2 system for a long time and they are well organised and try to tackle and win every ball.
“They want to win every ball – on the air, on the ground. For me, it is a challenge – you have to match it.”
Hibs head to Lanarkshire on a high after extending their unbeaten run against Edinburgh city rivals Hearts to eight games in midweek.
Simon Murray scored the only goal of the game after three minutes but Lennon singled out midfielder Dylan McGeouch for praise after the game.
And Lennon admits he plans to initiate signing talks with the former Celtic player ahead of the 24-year-old’s contract expiring next summer.
McGeouch is finally enjoying an extended run of games in the side after being plagued by a hamstring problem during the last two seasons.
Lennon added: “If Dylan keeps playing the way he is playing we obviously want to sit down and have a discussion.
“I’m not one of these conspiracy theorists who thinks he’s playing well because he’s in the last year of his contract.
“We’ve got a board meeting pretty soon and I’d imagine that would be very high up on the agenda. Not just Dylan, there will be a few players.
“I think he’s playing well because he’s sorted out his injury problems that he had before and to be fair to Dylan he’s basically been fit since the start of the season.
“Last year was very stop-start for him and psychologically he’s in a very good place at the minute.
Lennon, meanwhile, insists he does not appreciate his players using Twitter to rub the derby victory into their rivals.
Marvin Bartley mocked Hearts midfielder Ross Callachan, while Hibs winger Martin Boyle posted an emoji blowing a kiss in response to pre-match comments made by Lafferty.
Lennon added: “I’m not a fan of it and I’m not happy about it.
“I spoke to the boys and I’ll be speaking to them again.
“It’s unnecessary, whether it be banter or I don’t know if things were going on before or during the game.
“It’s unnecessary to put it out publicly, I don’t really advocate that sort of stuff.”