Belfast Telegraph

Celtic pitch invader from Co Armagh receiving barrage of death threats, says brother

By Allan Preston

A Celtic supporter from Portadown has been subjected to a barrage of death threats after he invaded the Scottish team's Parkhead pitch to confront Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, the fan's brother has claimed.

John Hatton (21) has been at the centre of a media frenzy since he slipped past security at the Champions League qualifier at Celtic Park on Tuesday and attempted to kick Mbappe.

He aimed a kick at the France striker but failed to make contact before being whisked away by stewards.

Pictures of Hatton's kick and then of him being marched off the pitch by security have since made national headlines.

But he has also been at the centre of a vicious social media backlash.

He admitted to the pitch invasion and assault at Glasgow Sheriff's court on Wednesday and is now due to be sentenced in October.

The 21-year-old Tesco employee has also been banned from every football ground in the UK.

Speaking from the family home in Portadown yesterday, Cillian Hatton said his younger brother had made a stupid mistake and that online abuse against him had gone too far.

"We don't want this, he's getting death threats and has his face in all the papers," he said.

"He made a stupid mistake, but you'll find out he has a clean record and is a quiet boy.

"This is first time doing something like this, that's not him.

"He's no other choice but to face the consequences, but all this hate directed at him is too much."

"People have posted our address online, asking people to come get and him.

Added Cillian: "This is all Celtic fans, by the way, this is what I'm disgusted about as we've been Celtic fans all our life."

Cillian said his brother was still "stranded" in Scotland, having lost his wallet, ID and money.

"As far as I'm aware he's written to the club and apologised himself.

"We're anxious to get him home, for his wellbeing and the wellbeing of this house," he said.

Cillian said his younger brother was currently studying youth work and had participated in cross-community work in the local area in the past.

"He's a quiet boy, no one round here can believe it, not even us," he said.

A second Celtic fan, 61-year-old Anthony Lavelle from Hertfordshire, was fined £400 after he admitted punching John Hatton on the head as he was led from the grounds by security.

Cillian Hatton said he took exception to the way Mr Lavelle was being "hailed as a hero" by some supporters on social media.

He added: "I haven't seen this level of hysteria for previous incidents at Celtic matches, sometimes with a large group of people involved.

"Now there's this one kid and everybody's jumping on him and it's not right.

"The wee fella doesn't know whether he's coming or going."

During John Hatton's appearance in court, his defence lawyer Dan Cameron said: "The incident wasn't viewed on television screens. It was 40 minutes into the match. He was taken by security stewards almost immediately from the pitch.

"The match wasn't disrupted for any great length of time.

"He had consumed a lot of alcohol and can only remember parts of the day."

On Wednesday morning, the football governing body Uefa opened disciplinary proceedings against Celtic, charging them with a count of "field invasion".

Their case is due to be heard by Uefa on October 19.

In the past six years, Celtic have already been fined £160,000 for 12 offences.

The most recent took place in Glasgow when fans flew a paramilitary-style flag when Linfield visited Celtic Park.

A further sanction in October means the club could be forced to partially close their stadium for a European fixture.

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