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Last Updated: Monday, 1 May 2006, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Lennon and Skacel row over spit
Rudi Skacel rises after being pushed to the ground by Neil Lennon
Skacel was pushed to the ground by Lennon on Sunday
Neil Lennon and Rudi Skacel's on-field spat over alleged spitting by the Czech has erupted into a war of words between the two midfielders.

Skacel denies spitting and Hearts say the Celtic man's claims have left their player "angry and deeply offended".

But Lennon told BBC Sport: "I am not in the business of making things up or trying to get people into trouble.

"But I know what happened and I'm adamant about that. I would not have reacted unless something did happen."

Both players had been booked as tempers rose during Hearts' 3-0 victory on Sunday.

Lennon had been shown a yellow card early in second half for pushing Skacel to the ground in an off-the-ball argument over the alleged spitting.
Rudi is very angry and strenuously denies that he spat at Neil Lennon
Hearts spokesman

Skacel was booked soon after for a trip on Lennon from behind, after which the Northern Irishman was substituted by manager Gordon Strachan.

Referee Alan Freeland has not yet filed his report on the match, but there seems little likelihood of the matter progressing further.

"The referee told me he did not see anything, so I will leave it at that, but it's important I set the record straight," said Lennon.

It is the second onfield controversy to feature the Celtic captain in recent months.

The 35-year-old was accused by Dunfermline Athletic's Greg Shields of making inappropriate boasts about the size of his wage packet during the CIS Cup final.

Hearts have leapt to the defence of their player after the latest controversy.

"There doesn't appear to be any proof of these allegations on television pictures," said a club spokesman.

"As for Rudi himself, he is very angry and strenuously denies that he spat at Neil Lennon.

"Rudi finds the comments attributed to Neil Lennon extremely offensive."

Strachan said he had substituted Lennon to prevent the incident developing further.

"I took Neil off because I didn't want to take any chances with him after he got booked," he had said.

"It wasn't so much Neil, but there may have been people round about him who were trying to take advantage."

Meanwhile, Skacel, who faced previous allegations of spitting at Dundee United's Stuart Duff, is believed to have signed a contract to stay at Hearts at the end of his loan spell from Marseille.

However, Hearts continue to insist that the Czech will not decide his future until the end of the season.


SEE ALSO
Hearts 3-0 Celtic
30 Apr 06 |  Scottish Premier
Skacel commits future to Hearts
30 Apr 06 |  Heart of Midlothian


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