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Opinion: Neil Lennon: The Enemy of Bigots & Cowards

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Ever since Neil Lennon made the switch from Leicester City to Celtic in 2000, he has been subjected to vile sectarian abuse, death threats, physically assaulted, knocked unconscious and been sent hoax bombs and bullets through the mail. The Celtic manager even battled depression, while he was Captain at Celtic.

But this season he has been subjected to several SFA officials blatantly lying to his face, being hauled over the coals by the SFA for his comments towards a fourth official and then being handed a six match ban – which every pundit and commentator labelled excessive. It was also apparent that the SFA President George Peat had a part to play in the proceedings after he publicly lambasted Celtic for having the cheek to appeal the original two match ban. The same SFA President seen celebrating a Rangers goal in the 2-2 draw with Celtic at Ibrox in the Scottish Cup.

Celtic appealed the ban once more and won the battle, seeing Lennon’s six match ban reduced to four. And they are now set to take the SFA head on over the antics of their alleged independent President George Peat.

However it’s not only the SFA that have targeted Neil Lennon, but also the majority of the Scottish Media, who see him as an easy target. Media that are closely linked to Ibrox and who are reliant on exclusives from elements within the board room and dressing room at the Quintessential British Club.

So rather than taking Ally McCoist to task over his part in the proceedings on Wednesday night, when he was not only a willing participant, but also provoked Lennon to react to several of his comments, the media instead targeted Neil Lennon with some elements blaming Lennon solely for the whole fracas, ignoring the actions of thuggish Rangers players manhandling the referee, trying to snap the legs of Celtic players. Thirteen Yellow Cards were shown to Rangers players, with three being shown the red card also, while Celtic received only three yellows. And yet Celtic were to blame, according to the comments of the one-time C&A cardigan model and current Rangers Chief Executive Martin Bain.

On top of that Diouf physically barged into the Celtic physio, as he ran onto the pitch to treat a grounded Emilio Izaguirre who had been scythed down by Steven Whittaker – who was also sent off for that challenge. And still no word, no screenshots nor photographic evidence has been shown in the media to show Diouf’s thuggish behaviour – why? Because the media do not want to annoy Sir Walter – the man who claimed that Diouf’s transfer to Rangers was highlighted in the media more than a Serial Killer.

Yet once again it was Neil Lennon who once again was targeted by the media, as he reacted to Diouf physically barging into a Celtic medical staff member. With Diouf and McCoist having to be restrained by their own team mates and Walter no surname respectively.

However this is where it becomes more sinister. This is where it proves how much Lennon is hated by the blue half of Rangers, when days later the Rangers supporters concoct a vindictive and libellous story that Lennon racially abused El Hadji Diouf on the touchline .

From the following Youtube footage, 200 Rangers fans complained to Strathclyde Police on Thursday and Friday over what they perceived as Racist Abuse and with every single one of them being expert lip readers, the campaign of hate towards Lennon continued after being orchestrated on several bigoted Rangers messageboards.

The same messageboards that show images of Neil Lennon covered in bullet holes and promoting facebook pages created to find out where he lives and to find out how many people want Lennon dead also.

Rather than covering such hate filled bile and abuse at a significant level, the Scottish Media have focused on the claims of 200 Rangers fans, which have no foundation whatsoever. If Lennon did racially abuse Diouf, do you not think that Diouf and Rangers would not have spilled the beans to the media by now? They were quick enough to run to the papers to claim that Diouf was being picked on and provoked by Scott Brown in the 2-2 Scottish Cup game,so wouldn’t they run as quickly or faster to get the Laptop Loyal into Ibrox for further exclusive articles?

Even in the aftermath of Wednesday’s match, Martin Bain mentioned abuse at Ibrox not at Celtic Park for the scenes that were beamed across the world. Not once did he mention anything related to racist abuse being launched at Diouf by Lennon nor any other Celtic official or player. Proving that the bigot and hate-filled allegations are blatant lies.

And now this morning we read that, Strathclyde Police are investigating the complaints of bigots who sent in a few emails. Bigots and cowards who were nowhere near the incident, bigots and cowards who to a man & woman, sing the racist ‘Famine Song’ and the banned sectarian ‘Billy Boys’ song, against the wishes of Rangers Football Club.

But it is all too convenient for Rangers. The furore surrounding Neil Lennon is taking the emphasis away from another woeful performance by the Light Blues against their greatest rivals. Being knocked out of the Scottish Cup in such dominant fashion, and they knew it also – hence the thuggish behaviour of their players on the field, as they targeted the Celtic players.

So while Lennon, backed up by the club and the fans, fight off the ludicrous and despicable claims of being a racist. Rangers’ performance and Sir Walter escape the coverage that other managers would receive – that would result in the Midget Protestor making another appearance outside Ibrox.

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Lennon’s record against Sir Walter is now 4 win – 1 draw – 1 defeat, against the man who many claim is the Greatest Rangers Manager of the Modern Era. Yet it takes an inexperienced Celtic manager to knock Mr Dignity off his perch – and thats what the bigot & hate-filled cretins don’t like. Even more so that it is Lennon. Neil Lennon is the source of hatred for these people not only because he is Roman Catholic, but also that he is Northern Irish and on top of that is a successful Celtic Captain, who didn’t shirk out of a challenge in an Old Firm match nor bowed down to their death threat campaign perpetrated over an 11 year period.

Who else would receive such sustained abuse, threats and bigotry? Sir Walter and Ally McCoist have not, no other Rangers manager has received such abuse. No manager in the history of Scottish Football has received such abuse – yet it is all Neil Lennon’s fault!

No other Rangers or Scottish club manager has had to have 24 hour protection – protection from the same bigots and cowards who have complained to the Police. The same bigots and cowards who bumped their gums over Artur Boruc blessing himself.

Yet this is getting little if not any coverage at all, and the claims of 200 Rangers fans – who can’t get over the fact their side got tanked four times this season – is front page news, where is the consistency in reporting? Oh wait that’s nearly as ludicrous as the allegations of Racist Abuse by Neil Lennon.

I shall end this piece with quotes from Neil Lennon’s spokesperson:

“These allegations are completely outrageous – with no substance whatsoever. There is a concerted campaign by malicious and despicable individuals to cause distress to Neil Lennon. Celtic Football Club and all Celtic fans stand by their manager in the face of these vicious and unacceptable attacks.”

First Published on ESPN Soccernet – Written by Andy M

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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