"Hugely important matter"; Celtic fans credit Neil Lennon for vital message

By David Walton

February 17, 2021

Neil Lennon has finally been given a bit of praise from Celtic fans, and this time it’s fully deserved after a key message yesterday.

There’s certainly been plenty of spotlight on him for how he’s conducted himself this season off the pitch. But taking the subject away from football discussion, Lennon has managed to hit the right notes.

The Celtic boss yesterday reacted to the disgusting treatment of Stoke City star James McClean. The Ireland international winger shared death threat messages sent to him that contained anti-Irish abuse [Daily Mail]. This prompted a response from the Football Association of Ireland, who have reached out to McClean to offer him support.

And Lennon was next to do so yesterday when asked about the social media abuse at his pre-match press conference for tonight’s clash against Aberdeen. The Celtic boss said the following via Celtic TV:

Neil Lennon shares crucial message that can’t be ignored

“It’s a real poison in modern-day society. It’s more prevalent in football because it’s so much more public and out there. But it’s disgusting. And I’m sick of talking about it because nothing gets done. It’s about time these people were named, shamed and dealt with by the police or the courts because it’s just totally unacceptable.

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“It’s almost as if it’s all right to do it now. As if your own personal thoughts can be put on a public platform, maybe you’ve had a few drinks and you don’t mean it but it’s out there, and you’ve no regard for the recipient. I’m seeing it a lot in English football now. It’s been too long, it’s been going on for far too long.

“How would you do your job? It would be so difficult for you, yet this kid has to go out and play professional football, albeit everyone will go ‘well he’s well paid for it’. He’s not well paid to take abuse from all and sundry about his background, his religion or his family. I’m in a press conference here, you put yourself in his shoes – people threatening to burn his house and threatening his family. I hope he gets the right support.”

Stoke City winger James McClean (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

It’s an absolutely vital message the manager is spreading here. It’s vital we blank out the football and don’t allow our opinions on Lennon as a manager to come into this debate. It can’t affect your opinion on matters as important as this.

Only last week we had English Premier League referee Mike Dean notified the police of death threats sent to him also [BBC]. This is undoubtedly happening a lot more often than we’re led to believe.

And plenty of Celtic fans were quick to back and praise their manager for his stance on an issue he knows all too well about:

In other news, Lennon has identified the one Celtic player who wanted to leave in the summer.