NEIL LENNON has revealed he may “reconsider” his Hibs manager’s post and admitted he is “extremely angry” his conduct has been brought into question.

The Easter Road boss was struck on the face by a coin thrown from the crowd during the goalless draw against Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday.

And Lennon, 47, backed his agent’s claim that he is routinely targeted for sectarian abuse because he is an Irish Catholic who played and managed Celtic.

The former Northern Ireland international captain said: “I’ve thought about walking away when I was manager of Celtic.

CALM DOWN…Neil Lennon shouts instructions from the touchline.

“Again, with all the furore and the empty vessels talking after Wednesday – people spouting opinions and totally getting the wrong end of things, I may reconsider my position again.

“I had a career in England unblemished by this sort of stuff. I had two years at Bolton – again, no abuse, no attacks, no suspensions or anything like that. And as soon as I’ve come back to Scotland it’s started to rear its ugly head again.”

When questioned about agent Martin Reilly’s comments, Lennon replied: “Everyone tries to skirt round it. That’s the basis of it, has been since 2000.

“The first day I stepped on to the pitch at Windsor Park as a Celtic player I was booed every time I touched the ball, having previously played 36 times and had nothing. But it was my association with Celtic, being high profile – there’s no question in my mind that was the reason behind it.

“You call it sectarianism here in Scotland, I call it racism. If a black man is abused, you are not just abusing the colour of his skin, you are abusing his culture, his heritage, his background. it’s the exact same.

“All I do is stand up for myself.

“Every week we hear the songs at stadiums – that’s got to be stamped out. People don’t want to do it, saying we can’t do anything about it – you can, if you really want to.

“I’m not the only one to suffer from sectarian abuse, plenty of people at Rangers suffer from it, too, and I think it’s disgusting in this day and age. It’s racism. Sometimes it’s worse here than it is back home.”

WATCHING…Neil Lennon and Brendan Rodgers on the Parkhead touchline as Filip Benkovic tackles Martin Boyle in the Hoops’ 4-2 win last month. 

Lennon added: “People should know better. It’s pretty poor all this, ‘I was goading people, I bring it on myself’. There’s an effigy outside Tynecastle saying: ‘Hang Neil Lennon’. That was before the game. Did I bring that on myself?

“This has got to stop. Everyone says I play the victim. I don’t. I had 15 years in England of nothing, so the first day I step into Scotland this sort of stuff began.

“And it’s not because I’m an aggressive character. You all know me. I’m not aggressive at all. I’m competitive, sometimes I cross the line just like any normal manager. So, this ‘brings it on himself’, I’m very angry about those comments.”

Lennon was hit by a coin on the jaw as he celebrated near the end when a Hearts ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside.

He will be hoping for a more uneventful Premiership outing when St Johnstone – managed by his fellow-Irishman Tommy Wright – visit Easter Road this afternoon.


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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