Lennon ‘baffled by this type of poison’

NEIL LENNON claims that simply being the manager of Celtic has led to threats to his security this season.

Strathclyde Police launched an investigation earlier in the week after parcels “designed to cause harm” were sent to the Celtic boss, Paul McBride QC and Labour politician Trish Godman, the latter two both having links with the Parkhead club.

Bullets were sent to the former Hoops skipper earlier in the season and a suspicious package addressed to him was also intercepted.

Asked if this would have happened at any club other than Celtic, Lennon, a Catholic, replied in the negative while alluding to a wider problem of bigotry.

“It wouldn’t, no. And it’s not because it’s my aggressive behaviour on the pitch any more. A lot was said about that when I played and I think you all know the reasons why these things are happening now.

“It’s good that people are talking about it and we will get something done about it.”

Lennon continued: “I am baffled that my persona can cause this type of poison in people.

“I am a football manager, a football person, not a politician.

“I have never talked about politics or talked about religion, I just talked about football as a sport and predominately for the good of the game up here.’’

He added: “I think it is pretty unprecedented what has happened and I hope it is not going to get out of hand.

“Anyone in any walk of life shouldn’t have to deal with something like this.

“It is uncomfortable, you see your face every hour on the hour on the news and after a while you start thinking ‘is that me they are talking about?’

“It is disconcerting and uncomfortable but I am well looked after by the people in charge and there is an ongoing investigation so I don’t want to comment too much.

“I’ve had this for 10 years but I don’t want to say you get used to it because you never do.”

Lennon, preparing his side for tomorrow’s Old Firm clash at Ibrox, claims he has no regrets about taking over the job as Celtic manager on a full-time basis last summer.

“You get an opportunity to manage Celtic once in a lifetime,” he said.

“It is not going to deter me from doing what I want to do. For me this is the greatest privilege in my life, to manage this football club and the support I’ve had from the fans and my close family and friends has been my strength.’’

For his part, Rangers boss Walter Smith admits he is glad to be facing his final Old Firm derby this weekend.

Smith will head into the famous fixture as Rangers manager for the last time tomorrow, in a match which could ultimately determine the destination of the league title.

The veteran boss — who has been warned by police over his own security—– has expressed his despair over the threats to Lennon.

“After the happenings of the last week, I’ll be delighted it’s my last one. That, more than anything else, is the feeling I’ve got going into it.”

But the 63-year-old is still determined to go out on a high, adding: “It’s my last Old Firm game and it’s one I hope we can go on and win. I just look forward to it, whether it’s my first or my last.

“It doesn’t really matter. It’s the result that is going to matter more than anything.

“In the 20 years I’ve been involved and being from the west of Scotland, I’ve never known a week quite like this. It’s sad.

“When you look at people like Neil Lennon and the other couple of people involved in the threats, it’s something that unfortunately goes far beyond the footballing aspect.”

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