'Viable' letter bomb sent to Celtic manager Lennon
Published 20/04/2011 | 05:00
AN explosive device -- described as "viable" -- was sent to Celtic manager Neil Lennon on the eve of his team's Scottish Cup semi-final victory over Aberdeen at Hampden Park at the weekend.
The package was one of three addressed to prominent figures in public life in Scotland.
The others were addressed to High Court lawyer Paul McBride -- whose scathing attack on the disciplinary procedures of the Scottish Football Association last week prompted the governing body of football in Scotland to threaten to sue him -- and Trish Godman, Member of the Scottish Parliament for West Renfewshire. It was learned on Saturday that the devices had been intercepted, but this was not publicised following a request from police.
However, it became clear late last night that details of the story had begun to emerge more widely. The nature of the devices represents an apparent escalation of the threat to Lennon, who has been the target in recent weeks of menacing packages, including live bullets, which were posted to the controversial Celtic manager who is from the North.
Asked yesterday how he was bearing up under this latest development, Mr Lennon replied: "Fine, but it is a nuisance." Mr McBride, reflecting wryly on the combination of last week's row with the SFA and his being targeted by whoever sent the explosive device, said: "I must say that I have enjoyed more tranquil passages."
A source said of the three packages: "Let's put it this way -- they were rather more potent than the sort of thing that might just singe your fingers if you opened the parcels."
Security around Lennon has been heightened since the menacing packages -- others have been sent to Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn, two Northern Ireland international players in the Celtic squad -- began arriving and will be tight when the manager takes his squad to Rugby Park tonight for their Scottish Premier League (SPL) match against Kilmarnock.