Home » Europe, Latest, Scotland » Celtic’s Neil Lennon attacked in match against Hearts

Celtic’s manager, Neil Lennon, was attacked by a supporter during his team’s Scottish Premier League victory at Hearts last night in the latest incident involving the Northern Irishman this season.

Lennon, around whom security levels are tight after threats to his life in recent months, was targeted after Celtic’s second goal in their 3-0 win. A man, who sprinted from Tynecastle’s main stand, grabbed hold of Lennon on the touchline before being wrestled to the ground by a combination of the Celtic coaching team, stewards and police. Lennon kicked out at his attacker while the man, who was led away by police, lay on the turf.

Celtic’s manager was unhurt but visibly affected by an incident that continues a turbulent 2011 for him and Scottish football. In January a package containing bullets and addressed to him was intercepted in Northern Ireland. Two months later he was involved in a furious touchline row with the Rangers assistant manager, Ally McCoist, at the end of an Old Firm derby; a political summit was held partly as a consequence of that fracas.

Since last month Lennon has been under 24-hour security after a viable explosive device intended for him was halted in the post but last night marked the first time he has come into direct danger when carrying out his work.

Condemnation instantly arrived from across Scottish football. “It was an utter disgrace,” said the Celtic coach Johan Mjallby, who took care of post-match media duties on Lennon’s behalf. “It was shocking and I have never seen anything like it at this level. This is a dark day for Scottish football. You never know what the guy could have had in his hand.”

Lennon’s assailant was arrested and is due in court. Mjallby recalled the moment the man came into view. “I saw it out of the corner of my eye, that someone was beside the dugout. [Celtic’s coach] Alan Thompson was the first to react and to get hold of the guy. Neil was surprised and shocked. He is OK but shaken.”

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