Peter Croy, aged 61, operations director for G4S stewarding and security company, was giving evidence at the trial of John Wilson, aged 26, who is accused of attacking Lennon at a Heart of Midlothian v Celtic match at Tynecastle on May 11. The attack is alleged to have been religiously aggravated.
At Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, Croy, who was standing in the tunnel area, said he had noticed the man climbing over the fence from the stand and believed he was going to try to run on to the pitch.
Croy told the court: “I made my way towards the person and it was only seconds but I realised he was not going on the pitch. He was making his way towards Neil Lennon.
“The person slipped and was lying on front of him (Lennon), and I just jumped on top of him.
“I vaguely remember him making contact with the manager. It looked like he had a hand round the back of his neck.”
Croy said he was lying over the man’s thighs and part of his waist, facing him. He said their faces would have been “about 18 to 20 inches” apart.
He said: “I restrained him to the ground for a few seconds before police arrived. He shouted something to Neil Lennon. He shouted: ‘Lennon, ya Fenian bastard’.”
Wilson’s defence lawyer, David Nicolson, challenged Croy’s evidence, asking if what he had actually heard was: “Lennon, ya fucking wanker.” Mr Croy replied: “No, I’m positive.”
The trial also heard evidence from Brian Winter, 43, the fourth official at the fixture.
He told the court he had seen a man “lunge” for Lennon, but who slipped in the process.
Winter said: “I saw Alan Thompson make a grab for the man as he was running, and he appeared to put him off balance by grabbing an item of his clothing.
“He was then being restrained on the ground by security. I moved in to pull Neil Lennon away from the situation.”
Wilson denies the charges against him.
The trial continues.