Neil Lennon has appeared in court as the two men accused of attacking him after an Old Firm match went on trial.
The Celtic coach said that he could not remember anything after leaving a pub in Glasgow’s West End last September but an onlooker claimed that it was Lennon who started the incident.
James Dick, bar manager of the Ubiquitous Chip, told the court that he saw the 37-year-old push one of his alleged attackers David Whitelaw and Jeffrey Carrigan before a fight broke out between the three men.
Asked by Whitelaw’s defence lawyer David Phinn if it was Lennon that started it, he replied: “I would say so, from my point of view yes.”
Whitelaw (47) whose address was given as HMP Barlinnie, and Carrigan (43) of Shafton Road, Knightswood, are on trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court charged with assaulting Lennon at Ashton Lane, Glasgow, on September 1, 2008.
The men deny the charges.
Mr Dick told the court: “I was standing at the entrance to the bar talking to a friend of mine, Liam Cameron, when Liam said, ‘I think Neil Lennon’s going to get into a fight’.
“I turned round and I saw Neil Lennon shove a man on the chest with both hands.
“Another guy was standing slightly behind and he then either punched or slapped Neil Lennon and thrust him forward again.”
Mr Dick claimed that both men then kicked Lennon as he lay on the ground before running off shouting, “You’ll no talk to me like that again”.
Lennon told the court that the only thing he could remember was waking up in the street.
He said: “A friend of mine offered to walk me up the road but I said I would be fine as I only live three minutes away.
“The next thing I remember I was lying on the ground and somebody was dabbing my face asking if I was okay.”
The former team captain later picked out Whitelaw in a police identity parade but could not tell officers how he knew him.
Whitelaw and Carrigan were also identified by two medical students who saw the incident.
The trial continues.