SFA invites O'Neill to expand on Lennon abuse claim

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The Independent Online

The Scottish Football Association yesterday invited Celtic to make an official complaint to the governing body after their manager Martin O'Neill claimed that one of his players had been the victim of "racial and sectarian" abuse at Ibrox.

The Scottish Football Association yesterday invited Celtic to make an official complaint to the governing body after their manager Martin O'Neill claimed that one of his players had been the victim of "racial and sectarian" abuse at Ibrox.

And the SFA made it clear O'Neill would not face charges of bringing the game into disrepute for making the accusation in the first place.

O'Neill insisted that the midfielder Neil Lennon, a Catholic who quit the Northern Ireland team after a death threat was made against him, was allegedly abused during Rangers' 2-0 win on Saturday.

The SFA issued a statement, saying: "The SFA does not condone any form of racist or sectarian behaviour and all sectarian and racist chants are wrong, no matter who they are targeted at. There were clearly faults on both sides during Saturday's game.

"If Celtic, or any club for that matter, wish to complain there are recognised avenues which can be followed within football."

O'Neill's outburst came on the eve of yesterday's Champions' League game in Barcelona when he was asked about the bad-tempered Old Firm derby in which two Celtic players were sent off.

Controversial comments by managers rarely escape the attention of the SFA's general purposes committee, but O'Neill will not be required to explain himself. An SFA spokesman said: "He will not be charged with bringing the game into disrepute."

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