Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Celtic boss Neil Lennon defends rowdy Celtic fans

Manager of Celtic Neil Lennon is escorted off the pitch as traveling fans invade the pitch during a pre season friendly match between Brentford.

Neil Lennon has defended the behaviour of Celtic supporters ahead of tomorrow's Champions League clash against Cliftonville after hundreds of Hoops fans invaded the pitch and taunted rivals at a friendly match in London.

Stewards policing the game between Celtic and League One side Brentford were forced to clear green flares thrown onto the pitch during play and tackle fans who ran out onto the grass.

At one point a handful of fans appeared to try and break the crossbar of a goal, while some Brentford supporters had to be held back by police from joining the commotion.

Lennon, who had to be escorted off the field at a jog, played down the incident after Saturday's match.

"The Celtic fans were a little over-exuberant – the heat, a few beers. But it was a carnival atmosphere," he said. "I would like them to maybe leave the flares out."

Tomorrow, Celtic will look to finish off Cliftonville in the second leg of their Champions League qualification tie at Celtic Park.

They go into the match with a 3-0 lead after last week's comfortable victory in Belfast, but Lennon is urging his player to take nothing for granted.

Asked how he would approach the match, Lennon said: "The same way we'll approach the first leg. We'll play with the same intensity.

"We're still building up for the start of the season. We've got games coming up so it's important we maintain our level of consistency and not go into the game thinking we're already there."

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