Mjallby backs 'great guy' Lennon

Johan Mjallby has backed Celtic manager Neil Lennon describing him as a “great guy” and a misunderstood character.

Johan Mjallby has backed Celtic manager Neil Lennon describing him as a “great guy” and a misunderstood character.

Ahead of tomorrow‘s crunch Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Motherwell at Celtic Park, the Hoops assistant again took over media duties from the Irishman who found himself once more in the national spotlight after being the subject of an alleged attack by a fan during the 3-0 win against Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday night.

The following morning, a package containing what appeared to be a bullet was delivered to Lennon at Celtic Park.

The former Celtic skipper, who also had a bullet sent to him earlier in the season, has had round-the-clock security since the first of two parcel bombs addressed to him was intercepted at a Royal Mail sorting office in March, but Mjallby is at a loss as to why Lennon inspires such vitriol.

“I really don’t know,” he said.

“He has always been in the spotlight as a player and now even more so as a manager.

“It seems that some people think he is a provocative figure which he is not.

“In a strange way he seems to upset people and there’s probably not much he can do.

“But those who are closest to him believe in him and think he is a great guy.

“He is a winner and his will to win and compete is second to none.

“I think it is a bit disappointing that he has been in the limelight when it comes to matters outside football.

“I think it is such a shame because we want to speak about the team and the way we have performed this season.

“He is in a good mood but obviously he wants the team to be the main focus because they have been performing very well lately, especially on Wednesday, we were brilliant,

“And now we want to focus on the last two competitive games of the season, two very important ones.”

Rangers are one point ahead of Celtic going in to the last day of the season.

The Hoops, though, will clinch the title if they get a better result against Scottish Cup final opponents Motherwell than the Ibrox men can muster at Kilmarnock,

But Mjallby believes the Ibrox men retain the upper hand.

“I would rather have the advantage in our hands,” said the former Celtic defender.

“We are still disappointed that we let that chance slip but we can’t dwell on that.

“Right now the focus is on us winning the game and then we have to hope that Kilmarnock can do us a favour.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox