Thursday 21 September 2017

St Patrick relegated as Hayden (8) gets to meet Celtic hero Lennon

Celtic Manager Neil Lennon meets fans Hayden McLafferty (8), his brother Riley (5), and father Tommy as he signed copies of his new book
Celtic Manager Neil Lennon meets fans Hayden McLafferty (8), his brother Riley (5), and father Tommy as he signed copies of his new book
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

HE was first in line to meet him and had barely slept a wink all night with the excitement of it all.

But when it actually came to shaking hands with his all-time hero, Celtic manager Neil Lennon, Hayden McLafferty (8), from Clondalkin in Dublin, took it all in his stride.

The pair chatted away together about various matches they recalled from Lennon's tenure as gaffer – and even from his playing days as captain.

Hayden, who has a serious heart condition and is under the care of Temple Street Children's Hospital and the Hospice in Harold's Cross, said "thanks, man", as the affable football legend handed him a signed photograph and thanked him sincerely for coming.

He and little brother Riley (5) could think of nothing else all during the St Patrick's Day festivities, except that they would be meeting the Celtic manager at his book signing in Dublin, revealed mother Gillian.

Lennon said they had organised the signing at the Celtic Shop in Dublin's Jervis Street centre to coincide with the Patrick's Day Festival, adding that he felt honoured to give something back to the loyal Irish fans, who travelled over at great expense for the Celtic matches.

"We have huge support here – it really pleases me how faithful they are," he said. "Everyone has an affinity and the atmosphere is just really amazing."

The book, 'A Champion's Story', which was published last summer, is Lennon's account of the 2011-12 season, when Celtic trailed Rangers by 15 points at one stage but staged a remarkable recovery to win the Scottish league, giving Lennon his first title as manager.

Irish Independent

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