Monday 20 November 2017

Celtic manager Neil Lennon admits threats nearly forced him to quit

Neil Lennon. Photo: Reuters
Neil Lennon. Photo: Reuters

CELTIC manager Neil Lennon has admitted that threats against his safety led him to think about giving it all up.

He spoke about his difficult year in a radio interview, which will be aired on Monday evening.

Lennon was at the centre of a high-profile court case earlier this year, which saw two men, Trevor Muirhead and Neil McKenzie, jailed for five years for conspiring to assault him by sending parcel bombs to Celtic Park and the club's training ground in Lennoxtown, East Dunbartonshire.

During the trial Lennon told the court he was left "very disturbed" after learning he was a target, along with other prominent fans of the club.

Lennon's close friend, Paul McBride QC, who was also a target, died suddenly while on a trip to Pakistan in March, days before he was to give evidence at the trial.

The Celtic manager and former player, who was a pall bearer at Mr McBride's funeral in Glasgow, said losing his friend coupled with the stress of the court case made for a "tough spell".

He said: "I had a real difficult time when Paul McBride passed away. And there was a spell where, on the Monday it was Paul's funeral and then on the Tuesday I had to go and give evidence in the court case and that was a real tough, tough spell.

"At times you think: is it worth it? You know, all these things that happen to you."

When asked by if he had any moments when he thought about "chucking it all in", Lennon replied: "Yeah. I mean at the end of the day, your personal safety is in jeopardy or you feel it's in jeopardy.

"I was always well briefed by the police and the intelligence officers, so that gave me a lot of comfort through those times but you're just thinking: is it worth living here?

"You know, I love Glasgow. I love the environment. It's been my home for a long, long time. But there is an element to it that lets the city down, you know, lets the country down and the sooner we can eradicate that ... but it's got to come from the home.

"It's got to come from the families and it's all right pointing the finger at schools and this, that and the other, (but) you know as parents we have a responsibility to bring your kids up in the right way."

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