Belfast Telegraph

Celtic fan ‘sorry’ for airport confrontation with Novo

By Mark Edwards

A man at the centre of a social media storm after he was filmed  in a confrontation with former Rangers star Nacho Novo last night expressed his deep regret over the incident.

Novo (39) appears in two videos circulating on social media, the first of which shows him walking through arrivals at Belfast International Airport on Saturday as the man in a Celtic tracksuit top sings “I hope you die in your sleep Nacho Novo”.

Novo, who played for Glentoran and is a frequent visitor to Northern Ireland, initially laughs off the abuse. However, in a second clip, taken outside the airport, Novo is seen approaching the man and asking him why he “disrespected” him, saying he had done nothing to deserve the abuse and that he “was not scared of him”.

Last night the Celtic fan said he wanted to apologise unreservedly to Novo for his “indefensible behaviour”. He said: “I had been over to watch football and had returned on the same day and I was the worse for drink. That is not an excuse but it is true. I’ve let myself down.

“Since the incident went viral, I’ve had an insight into the effects of abusive behaviour. Threats have been made online and I can appreciate how upsetting the original incident was.”     

Novo, posting on social media later that evening, said: “Arrived at Belfast International Airport tonight to support the local community for all sides of the divide.

“As soon as I walked out of the airport I was surrounded by Celtic supporters that hurled abuse and tried to attack myself. I would like thank genuine Celtic supporter.”

Novo was left fighting for his life in January after suffering a heart attack while starring in a Rangers legends tournament in Germany. The star received thousands of goodwill messages.

Belfast Telegraph

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