Ex-Celtic captain Lennon beaten unconscious in sectarian attack

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The Independent Online

The Former Celtic captain Neil Lennon was treated in hospital yesterday after being assaulted in sectarian attack.

Mr Lennon, now a coach at Celtic, received treatment for minor injuries following the incident in Glasgow's West End just hours after the club lost to their arch rivals Rangers.

Police were called to Ashton Lane, well known for its trendy pubs and restaurants, around 12.25am. The 37-year-old from Northern Ireland was taken to hospital and later released after treatment.

A spokesman for Celtic said: "While walking home alone [on Sunday], Neil Lennon was the victim of a serious assault by two men. The assault came after Neil was subjected to sectarian abuse. It is understood that during the course of the attack Neil lost consciousness. Strathclyde Police are carrying out an investigation into the assault."

Mr Lennon has not filed a complaint with Strathclyde Police, who said they were searching for two men in their forties in connection with the incident.

One was described as being of heavy build and was wearing a light blue shirt and a black leather jacket. The second was wearing a light-coloured shirt.

In September 2003 two students were fined after an attack on Mr Lennon in Glasgow. The former Northern Ireland international was driving in the West End, close to his home, when the men chased his car and shouted abuse at him.

Earlier that year Lennon vowed he would never again play for his country because of a reported death threat.

Loyalist paramilitaries insisted that the warning was bogus, but Mr Lennon, a Catholic, said he was not prepared to suffer any more sectarian victimisation.

The latest incident comes weeks after the Celtic defender Darren O'Dea was fined after a disturbance outside a Glasgow nightclub.

He was issued with a £40 fixed penalty for a breach of the peace after being arrested following reports of a incident outside the Bamboo nightclub on 11 August.

Meanwhile, police said they were treating an attack on a 29-year-old man at a railway station near Glasgow, hours after the Old Firm match, as football related. Four youths dressed in green, white and yellow and thought to be Celtic supporters, left the victim with a fractured jaw and other facial and head injuries. The man was attacked on the platform and tried to escape by getting on a train, but he was followed by the gang.

Detective Inspector John Harrington said: "This was a particularly nasty attack, which appears to have started in the street outside."