Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty admits he regrets taunting Celtic boss Neil Lennon on Twitter.
The Northern Ireland international also hit out at the “sickening” hate campaign against Lennon which has seen him targeted by death threats, postal bombs and subject to an attack by a fan at Tynecastle.
Lafferty clashed with the Hoops boss on the Ibrox touchline following a 2-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League win for the Parkhead club on January 2.
Lennon gave Lafferty a verbal volley in response to a gloating Twitter message the Ibrox striker wrote in October on the back of the derby win for Rangers at Parkhead.
He tweeted: ’Sweet o very sweet. Hahaha lennon lennon. What’s the score hahaha.’
Lafferty conceded that the Celtic boss was justified in retaliating and he sympathised with Lennon for what he had to endure last season.
“I wrote something on Twitter about Neil I probably should not have, I accept that,” he told the Scottish Sun. “A lot of people saw it and the damage was done. So, I think he had a right to have a pop back at me. If it had been the other way around I would have done it.
“What has happened to Neil Lennon has been sickening. We have had our differences but I would not wish it on my worst enemy. I wouldn’t have been able to put up with that. I’d have cracked and left.
“The attack on him at Tynecastle was frightening and he was lucky it wasn’t far worse. His heart is in the right place. He’s got family and I think everything that’s happened is wrong. It should have been just about the football, but this season it has been about a lot more and we have all hated seeing it.
“I have never properly spoken to him. There has only been the incident at the start of the year.”
Lafferty helped Rangers to a third straight SPL title win but he insists he was “pleased” that Lennon took Celtic to a Scottish Cup final victory over Motherwell.
He said: “If Celtic had won the league, and I had seen Neil, I think I would have shook his hand. That is because of what he has been through.
“He won the Scottish Cup and deserved it. I was pleased he got something for all that he has been through.”