SPL - Lennon attacked by fan during Celtic win

Wed, 11 May 21:37:00 2011

Neil Lennon was attacked by a Hearts fan during Celtic's 3-0 win over the Edinburgh team at Tynecastle in the Scottish Premier League.

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Celtic boss Lennon was celebrating his side's second goal scored by Gary Hooper early in the second period when a man in a tracksuit managed to race past stewards and the police from the main stand.

The fan made contact with the Northern Irishman, but the Celtic assistant manager Alan Thompson helped stewards and police before the home supporter was wrestled to the ground and dragged up the tunnel.

Lennon was uninjured after the attack, but had several concerned police officers swarming around him as he saluted the visiting fans at the full-time whistle.

"Lothian and Borders Police have condemned the violence during the Hearts v Celtic football match at Tynecastle in Edinburgh," read a police statement.

"A male has been arrested following an incident when he attempted to assault Celtic FC Manager, Neil Lennon. This man is now subject of a report to the Procurator Fiscal and is due to appear in court on Thursday 12 May."

A police spokesman also stated: "A number of incidents took place during this match including some violent disorder.

"Lothian and Borders Police are now fully investigating all of the incidents that have occurred at the match this evening and to ensure we can establish all the facts, we will work closely with both football clubs and the SPL."

There was apparently trouble between visiting fans and the police after the attack on Lennon and the Celtic manager looked visibly shaken on the touchline amid some disgraceful scenes.

Celtic won the match with some ease courtesy of Hooper's 20th and 21st goals of the season either side of half-time after David Obua was harshly sent off around the half-hour mark for raising his arms towards Charlie Mulgrew.

Kris Commons added a third goal on 78 minutes before he was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for celebrating. He had been booked moments earlier for allegedly diving.

Celtic are a point behind Glasgow rivals Rangers with one game of the season remaining with Lennon's side hosting Motherwell at Celtic Park on Sunday. Rangers will claim the title if they win at Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on the same day.

The match will be remembered for all the wrong reasons with Hearts vowing to launch a "full investigation" into the attack on Lennon.

Rivalry between certain clubs in Scottish football has traditionally had a religious undertone, and Lennon has been a victim of a wider problem in Scottish society.

Hearts are certain to be punished for the lapse in security at their ground, especially after the threats upon the safety of Lennon in recent times.

The attack is the latest in a number of incidents to blight Lennon's tenure as Celtic manager since he was appointed manager of the former European Cup winners last June.

He was sent bullets in the post from his native Northern Ireland in January while police confirmed last month that the Roman Catholic - who retired from international football in 2002 after receiving death threats - had been sent two live parcel bombs, as had his lawyer and a Scottish politician who supports Celtic.

Strathclyde Police announced on Thursday that they had made at least two arrests in connection with the bombs after a series of overnight raids in Kilwinning which involved uniformed officers and specialists from the army bomb squad.

For the record, Celtic were comfortable winners on the night. A mistake by Marius Zaliukas saw Commons play in Hooper for the opening goal on 12 minutes before he accepted a pass from Ki Sung-Yeung to make it two on 49 minutes.

All hell seemed to break loose after that goal, but Celtic continued to dominate matters as Commons applied the third from inside the home area with home keeper Marian Kello well beaten.

Commons will be suspended for Sunday's match against Motherwell, but such stats matter little after another night of shame for Scottish football.


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