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Celtic chief hails Lennon's 'character' after latest threat

Neil Lennon will escape the Old Firm aftermath by taking a strong Celtic XI to Donegal to face Finn Harps tomorrow.

Strathclyde Police confirmed yesterday that they had intercepted a hoax letter bomb addressed to the Celtic manager.

A statement from Celtic chief Peter Lawwell said: "Clearly, this most recent sickening event in a long line of threats to Neil and his family is extremely worrying.

"This demonstrates the intensity and pressure which Neil endures as the Celtic manager.

"However, he has coped with these issues incredibly well during his short time as manager, showing what a strong character he is.

"Indeed, it is extremely sad that Neil has had to contend with such issues for more than a decade, both as a Celtic player and manager. No-one in any walk of life should have to live their life in this way and those responsible should be condemned.

"It goes without saying Neil and his family will continue to receive every support from the club."

The Celtic squad fly to Donegal after today's match with Hamilton Accies and will play at Ballybofey in a testimonial match for defender John Kennedy, who was forced to retire from the game 17 months ago.

Kennedy looked certain to reach the top but, a week after helping Celtic to knock Barcelona out of the 2004 UEFA Cup, his career was effectively over after being the victim of a horrendous challenge from Romania's Ioan Ganea 10 minutes into his international debut.

Looking ahead to the trip, Lennon said: "It's for John Kennedy, who thoroughly deserves a testimonial.

"He was a bit younger than me when we played together, he was part of the brat pack that was coming through at the time with the likes of Shaun Maloney and Aiden McGeady.

"He was a tremendously talented player and it was a travesty what happened to him. We're delighted he's now back working with us though and is still a part of the club."

The proceeds from tomorrow's match will all go to local charities, with Celtic lining up a match against a top Premiership team for Kennedy's main testimonial.