Scottish Premier League - Lennon tells court of alleged attack

Mon, 29 Aug 18:25:00 2011

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has told a court that the atmosphere 'was very tense' and 'intimidating' after he was allegedly attacked during the Glasgow side's Scottish Premier League match with Heart of Midlothian in May.

Neil Lennon attack Celtic v Hearts - 0

Mr Lennon told a jury about the moment he was attacked as he gave evidence in the trial of Mr John Wilson at Edinburgh's Sheriff Court.

"I felt a contact to the corner of my head and then saw a body sort of sprawled out in front of me - and it was then I realised that he had tried to get to me," said Mr Lennon.

"It felt like a glancing blow to the corner of my head.

"It all happened very quickly and I sort of went into a defence position, crouching to avoid contact with whoever it was that was attacking me.

"He was off balance and ended up lying in front of me.

"I tried to prevent him from getting up again. He was trying to defend himself.

"There was a steward, the fourth official, and (assistant Celtic coach) Alan Thompson who had all sort of gathered around him and I got pulled back.

"I was going to go for him, because I wasn't sure what he had in his hand.

"I knew I had been attacked so it was a split-second self-defence mechanism.

"He could have had something. I didn't know but he could have been carrying something."

Mr Lennon said he was "only doing his job" before he was attacked.

"If you would call doing my job inciting violence, then I was just doing my job," added Lennon, who admitted calling his attacker "a f***ing idiot" in the moments after the alleged assault.

Mr Wilson, 26, denies charges of assault and breach of the peace aggravated by religious prejudice, and causing further disturbance among the crowd at the match.

The trial before Sheriff Fiona Reith QC continues.

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