The trials and tribulations of Celtic manager Neil Lennon have taken yet another twist after he was warned by police to stay away from a testimonial game in Donegal on security grounds.
Lennon was advised to stay in Scotland when the Celtic first team travelled to Ballybofey for Sunday’s match against Finn Harps in honor of former defender John Kennedy.
The Parkhead boss remained at home after another suspicious parcel, addressed to him from his native Northern Ireland, was intercepted by Scottish police.
The latest development came just days after Lennon was involved in an ugly spat with Rangers coach Ally McCoist at the end of his team-s 1-0 win in the Scottish Cup replay last Wednesday night.
Glasgow police have since confirmed that they are investigating claims that Lennon made racist remarks during the controversial game, a claim his lawyer Paul McBride has vigorously denied.
The game saw touchline and tunnel clashes between players and management from both sides while three Rangers players were sent-off and 34 arrests were made inside the stadium.
Members of the public have made the racist complaints against Lennon to the police but McBride has refuted them.
He said: “These allegations are defamatory and outrageous with no substance whatsoever. This is a concerted campaign by malicious and despicable individuals to cause distress to Neil Lennon.
“Celtic Football Club and Celtic fans stand by their manager in the face of these vicious and unacceptable attacks.”
A spokesman for Strathclyde Police said: “We have received complaints from members of the public regarding allegations surrounding the events during the Old Firm match on Wednesday, which we are currently investigating.”
Celtic boss Lennon began a four game touchline ban on Saturday as his team defeated relegation threatened Hamilton 2-0, both goals coming from recent signing Kris Commons.
Afterwards Lennon chose not to speak to the media. His assistant Johan Mjallby did the honors when he revealed his belief that Lennon will stay on as Parkhead boss despite all the current controversy.
“He hasn’t told me that he has had enough,” said Lennon after another Celtic coach, Alan Thompson, had suggested otherwise in the build-up to the Hamilton match.
“Neil is a strong character. He is in this job for the long run. He can certainly take the pressure so I would be very surprised if that happened.
“He is upbeat, in a good state of mind and fairly happy. After Wednesday’s game all we did was concentrate on this game and he is very good at that.
“All the other stuff behind the scenes is unacceptable. I know he is probably used to it but it shouldn’t happen anyway.”
Double goalscorer Commons is also confident that Lennon will see the job through with Celtic.
“The impression that he has given us is that he is hungry, he wants to win titles, wants to win medals and he has brought in a lot of players who are striving to do that,” said Commons.
“He was in the dressing room before the game, at half-time and at full-time so it didn’t make a massive difference today.
“It is always nice to see him on the touchline but with regards doing my job and making a contribution, that’s a personal thing and I thought I did that today.
“It was a good day for me. Two good goals and we got the three points so I am delighted.”
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