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Neil Lennon defuses touchline spat with Ally McCoist

Tempers fray in Old Firm Cup tie

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has revealed he and Ally McCoist, Rangers' assistant boss, have settled their differences after Wednesday's touchline argument.

The pair had to be restrained when Lennon reacted angrily to a remark by McCoist as they shook hands following Celtic's fiery 1-0 Scottish Cup win.

"Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, things can be said," said Lennon.

"However, we were still able to sit down after the game and, as far as we are concerned, the matter is closed."

And Lennon, speaking to the Celtic website, added: "It is a passionate game and both of us want our team to win."

The flashpoint involving the two men followed a match that was pockmarked by red cards for Rangers players Steven Whittaker, Madjid Bougherra and El Hadji Diouf, 13 cautions and a series of angry scenes in the Celtic Park technical areas and tunnel.

There were 34 arrests inside the stadium for the Scottish Cup replay and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has since announced that a summit is to be held next week to discuss serious disorder surrounding Old Firm games.

The fact that only three of our players were booked is evidence of the composure and discipline which provided the foundation for us to go and win the match

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell

The meeting has been arranged following a request to the Scottish Government by Strathclyde Police chief constable Stephen House after his officers arrested 229 people in the fall-out from the last Old Firm match on 20 February.

The Scottish Football Association will also investigate events at Wednesday night's match.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has disputed comments made on Thursday morning by Stewart Regan, his counterpart at the SFA.

Regan slammed both clubs for their "inflammatory and irresponsible behaviour", adding that the "angry confrontation" between Lennon and McCoist "was not only unsavoury but exacerbated an already incendiary atmosphere inside the stadium and throughout the West of Scotland".

Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell
Lawwell (right) was in the stand with major shareholder Dermot Desmond

Lawwell, however, said: "I believe that events should be put into some perspective.

"Celtic had three players booked last night. To put this in the context of other matches, St Johnstone last night received two bookings in their match against Aberdeen, while Motherwell received five bookings against Celtic last Sunday.

"Contrary to Stewart's statement, I do not think that our players showed a lack of respect to officials.

"The team remained composed throughout what was, at times, a difficult game and the fact that only three of our players were booked is evidence of that composure and discipline which provided the foundation for us to go and win the match.

"They should be congratulated in this regard."

And he added: "Our fans once again provided an excellent display of how to support the team in a positive and inspiring manner.

"Our players, too, deserve great praise, not just for winning the match but also in the manner of the victory. They should be congratulated on their discipline."

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see also
Abuse led to tension - Gers chief
03 Mar 11 |  Rangers
Game was good viewing - Jefferies
03 Mar 11 |  Hearts
SFA chief slams Old Firm clashes
03 Mar 11 |  Scottish Cups
Lennon-McCoist rift 'will heal'
03 Mar 11 |  Celtic
Rangers fume after fiery Cup tie
02 Mar 11 |  Rangers
Celtic 1-0 Rangers
02 Mar 11 |  Scottish Cups

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