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Lennon - I need to keep my cool
Published : 11 May 2011 07:30:10
Celtic manager Neil Lennon takes his side to Tynecastle on Wednesday night insisting there will be no repeat of the touchline antics which saw him banished from the dugout on his last visit.
In November, Lennon was sent to the stands by referee Craig Thomson after clashing with fourth official Steven McLean during a 2-0 defeat, and was then charged with excessive misconduct by the Scottish Football Association. A four-match suspension was added to the automatic two-match ban, although that was reduced to four matches in total on appeal.
"I look at my previous performance at Tynecastle and I know I don't want any repeat of what went on then," he told the Daily Record. "I need to keep cool because I have to be there for my players. I understand the need to rein in my behaviour so that I don't provoke anybody."
He added: "But the fact that I walk out onto the perimeter of the pitch is enough to get some fans going, in my experience."
The former Celtic skipper's frustration on the sidelines has boiled over more than once since.
When a penalty claim at Inverness last Wednesday night during the 3-2 defeat by Caley was turned down, Lennon booted a drinks container into the air, with the incident replayed regularly on television.
"I look at that incident and I laugh and wince at the same time," he added. "It was a reflex action and I won't be the first, or last, to do it.
"I've learned from that and I hope my players have taken on board that they can't play as badly as they did in the first 15 minutes of the second half that were so costly for us.
"But sometimes my mere presence can be all it takes to get some sets of fans going. It'll be a feisty atmosphere on this occasion in Edinburgh and the Hearts faithful will be right up for the game. I'm looking forward to it for that reason.
"It can be edgy between their fans and ours and that'll make for a tense night. But there's no need for my team to feel pressure or any sense of intimidation. These guys have played all over the world. We'll be going there to win the game."