Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Fury over "Punch Neil Lennon" game

Celtic coach Neil Lennon celebrates after they won the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League following the match at Tannadice Park, Dundee.

Scottish bigots have been slammed for glorifying a violent attack on former Northern Ireland star Neil Lennon.

The anti-sectarian Nil By Mouth organisation in Glasgow hit out after a street attack on the Celtic first team coach was made into a vile computer game.

The webpage was launched earlier this month and mocks the attack on Lennon after his team’s 4-2 defeat by Old Firm rivals Rangers on August 31.

Players control a huge fist to punch the Lurgan-born star — who was knocked unconscious in the attack — on the head.

It also features a song about the Famine which was recently slammed by Celtic chairman and former Northern Ireland Secretary of State John Reid.

Calls have been made for the ‘Punch Lennon Down Ashton Lane’ web page to be banned.

The game has been condemned by supporters of both Celtic and Rangers.

Andy Kerr of the Rangers Supporters Assembly urged anyone with information on the internet pranksters to come forward.

Said Andy: “No fair-minded, ordinary fan would think this was appropriate.

“These people are not representative of the real fans who support Rangers.”

Jim Kenny, chairman of the Kevin Colhoun Celtic Supporters Club, also slammed the computer game.

“This game should be banned,” said Jim.

“Neil Lennon has suffered enough victimisation just because of his love for Celtic.”

Two men have appeared in court charged in connection with the attack in Lennon which happened in the plush Ashton Lane area of Glasgow.

Lennon has been a target for abuse since he joined Celtic in 2000 and was subjected to a death threat while playing for Northern Ireland.

The former Hoops captain has praised the IFA over its attempts to combat sectarianism among its fans.

But Lennon (37) believes there will always be a small minority of bigots who will bring shame on the game.

“I think the IFA have worked very hard but I do think there is an element there that, no matter what you do, you will never change their mindset,” he said.

“It's just a small minority, but they will always be there to spoil the party. When I look at Windsor Park now there seems to be a better atmosphere.

“Maybe that's a kickstart from what happened to me.

“I hope maybe some good has come out of all that.”

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