Celtic manager Neil Lennon has brushed off his previous Tynecastle attacks as he gets set to take his Hoops team to Hearts tonight.
Lennon has been shockingly targeted on several occasions at the same ground in the past. The most high-profile was the supporter who ran on the pitch and tried to physically assault our manager back in 2010 (BBC).
In addition to that, he apparently had to leave the same stadium in 2014 after receiving too much abuse despite simply sitting and watching a match between Aberdeen and St Johnstone (The Scotsman). That’s not even including the fact he was struck with a coin in his last derby match there as Hibs manager (The Guardian).
It’s a horrendous series of incidents that Lennon has consistently bounced back from stronger than ever. And speaking in the Herald about it, he says he’s just going to get on with things.
“Will they weigh on my mind? Not really, no. I think, in essence, it’s normally a really great atmosphere and a good venue to play football.
“There’s been a few distasteful moments, but you just have to get on with the job and on with the game. I’ve got more important things to be thinking about than that.”
Lennon’s strength continues to be too much for the bigots
Credit to the gaffer here. The inner-strength he has seems to have no boundaries. Lennon is always quite happy to touch on his previous incidents at Tynecastle. Regardless of the fact they’re scandalous and horrific, Lennon has always been one tackle those talking points head-on.
There’s no denying that Tynecastle has been a poor ground for these kinds of acts towards Lennon. At the end of the day, he’s a football manager – nothing else. He doesn’t deserve a higher level of abuse just because he’s Neil Lennon.
Hopefully, we’re not talking about any concerning incidents off the field post-match tonight. Lennon did manage to go there back in February and didn’t seem to have any distasteful bother.
One thing is for certain, however, and that’s that the manager will want a much-improved display from that night in February. That match was Lenny’s first game in charge since returning to the club. It was nervy and gritty, and the kind of contest we want to avoid tonight.
The manager has managed to evolve this team tenfold since then however. From the starting XI that night, as many as eight are likely to not be starting the match. Only Kristoffer Ajer, Scott Brown, and James Forrest are likely to have survived.
It’s a game we all want to just get out of the road. With a bit of luck, the only thing we’re talking about is a vastly-improved performance from last year. And, at the very least, nothing more than on-field matters.