Celtic boss Lennon hails Brown’s reaction to vile abuse

Brown was taunted over the death of his sister Fiona.

By Press Association Published: 13 September 2019 - 1.45pm

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon has praised skipper Scott Brown for handling a “horrendous” situation outside Ibrox.

Brown was taunted over the death of his sister Fiona, who died from skin cancer in 2008, while boarding the team bus following Celtic’s 2-0 win over Rangers earlier this month.

A 15-year-old boy has been charged in connection with the incident, which was captured on video.

Rangers issued a life ban and apologised to Brown, who stopped in his tracks when he heard the comment but did not respond.

Lennon said: “I’ve had a brief chat with him about it and I think he handled the situation very well.

“It’s incredibly hard (not to react). I don’t know what I would have done. I’m older now and Scott is a lot more mature. Maybe five or six years ago it might have been a different outcome.

“I’m not sure what that lad was trying to prove or what his thought process was, if he had one at all. It’s disgusting.

“I think it’s awful, horrendous. To even think about that, let alone say it, is horrendous.

“I applaud Rangers for the swift action they took and the support a lot of their fans have given to Scott but it’s got to stop. There’s no call for that.

“We’re talking not only here, in Britain now there seems to be this uprising in a lot of racism again. It’s rearing its ugly head.

“We have a sectarian problem here, we know that.

“Ninety five per cent of supporters are really good and, like Scott said, he doesn’t mind during the game, but when we’re out and about on the streets trying to live our lives, we are not in a football ground. They have no right to abuse or insult people in that manner.”

Brown pinpointed social media as a platform that has allowed extreme comments to spiral, and Lennon agreed.

“It sometimes makes young ones think that it’s all right,” he said. “It’s not.

“Again we have people in authority and players of the highest calibre asking social media networks to clamp down on it. It has to stop.

“There’s no accountability or responsibility for these individuals to put out on a public forum what they want to say. We live in a democracy but a line has to be drawn somewhere because it is against the law.

“These platforms allow this illegality to happen.”

Lennon himself came off Twitter after finding the negativity affected him.

“I got off it,” he said. “One, it took up too much of my time, two, it played with my head a bit sometimes and, three, it could be quite upsetting as well.

“We are decent human beings believe it or not, the majority of us, but we are portrayed to be something else by people who don’t know us.

“There’s a lot of good things come out of social media as well. The lads do a lot of charity work or promote charities but this underbelly leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth and can be quite upsetting for individuals.”

Celtic are looking to carry on the momentum from their trip to Ibrox when they travel to face Brian Rice’s Hamilton on Saturday.

“They had a great result at Tynecastle and having watched some of the game they were unfortunate not to get a win,” Lennon said.

“They punch well above their weight, they get results at times when they need to.

“On the back of us getting a great win two weeks ago, we have to make sure we don’t take our foot off the pedal or be complacent and go with the right mindset because on any given day we can get beat.

“We have to be well at it from the first whistle. It’s an early kick-off so we are well prepared for that as well.”