SPL - Celtic condemn 'Scotland’s shame'

Thu, 12 May 16:01:00 2011

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has condemned the "vile" attacks on Neil Lennon and the club, calling them "Scotland’s shame" and demanding that Scottish society rids itself of sectarianism.

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Another suspect package - believed to contain a bullet - was intercepted at Celtic Park on Thursday, a day after manager Lennon was attacked by a Hearts fan during his side’s 3-0 win at Tynecastle.

Adding to a firearms incident outside the club’s training ground, previous suspect packages addressed to Lennon and other high-profile Celtic fans, and the ongoing row over sectarian singing by supporters of other clubs, recent events have generated an unseemly portfolio of attacks against a team that historically represents Irish Catholics.

"Last night’s appalling attack on Neil Lennon brings shame on Scottish football and again highlights the fact that Scottish society must address fundamental and serious issues which lead to outrages of this kind," Lawwell said in a statement on Celtic’s website.

"Apart from last night’s events, this week alone we have seen seven people arrested at our training ground following an alleged firearms incident and I can also confirm that this morning (Thursday) another package arrived at Celtic Park which appears to contain ammunition. This has been removed and taken by police for further forensic tests. We are the only club to be the subject of such vile, sustained and relentless attacks.

"It is intolerable that any football club, or individual, going about their lawful business in the name of sport should be subjected to this ongoing campaign of hatred and intimidation. This is Scotland’s shame and it is high time Scotland addressed it.

"Since moving here a decade ago, Neil Lennon has had to endure prejudice and violence both as a player and manager, having suffered no such problems elsewhere. In doing so, he has displayed a strength of character and resilience which deserve respect from all who oppose the campaign of intimidation against him.

"He is a man who is proud to be the Celtic manager and is someone who simply wants to be able to carry out his role in the same way as every other football manager can. Clearly, Neil will continue to receive every support and protection from Celtic Football Club.

"We are deeply appreciative of the intensive police efforts to address the criminal offences that have come to light. All right-minded people will surely condemn these actions but, as a society, we must also address the underlying factors that lead to such behaviour."

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