Neil Lennon accuses Hearts of trying to ‘kick Hibs off the park’ in Edinburgh derby

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

NEIL LENNON has accused Hearts of tying to ‘kick Hibs off the park’ during a fiery stalemate at Tynecastle.

The Hibees head coach reckons the Jambos overstepped the mark during a hard-fought 0-0 draw, insisting Jamie Walker should have been sent off following a series of heavy challenges and criticising the hosts for breaking up the game with a swathe of fouls.

Walker, David Milinkovic and Kyle Lafferty were booked for the hosts, while stats showed Hearts committed 15 fouls to Hibs’ 12.

And Lennon has expressed his pride at his players’ mentality and physicality after claiming Hearts were also responsible for rough-house tactics at Easter Road earlier this season.

“It was the same at Easter Road, we outplayed them and they kicked us off the park,” said Lennon. “They tried to do the same thing again.

“[Lewis] Stevenson has taken two heavy ones, so had John McGinn and I don’t know how Jamie Walker stays on the pitch.

“That’s not tackling. It’s booting people, pushing people, just going into the back of them or going in late. My players stood up to that brilliantly. Physically, we looked strong and I’m proud of them.

“If that’s the way they [Hearts] want to play then that’s their prerogative, but we certainly don’t get bullied. Our players have a good mentality when it comes to these games. We are going to have to do it all again next month.”

Hibs, meanwhile, are sweating over the fitness of Martin Boyle and Brandon Barker ahead of Saturday’s clash with Kilmarnock after the duo limped off against Hearts.

“I hope both of them will be okay for the weekend. Martin [Boyle] turned his ankle a wee bit so we will have to wait and see,” Lennon told Hibs TV. “I’d probably need to freshen it up anyway and give some fresh legs a run out.”

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