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Rangers fan who said he'd shoot Neil Lennon avoids prison

By Rory Cassidy

A university graduate who threatened to kill Hibernian manager Neil Lennon in a foul-mouthed Facebook rant was spared jail for the offence yesterday.

Rangers fan Sean Cowan said he would get a gun and shoot Lennon in the head after the former Celtic captain and manager cupped his ears in celebration during a game between Hibernian and Rangers at Ibrox.

Cowan (54) made the remarks on the Facebook page of Rangers fan site Follow Follow on Saturday, August 12, following Hibs' 3-2 victory in the clash.

After Simon Murray's leveller, Lurgan man Lennon faced the main stand, kept his arms aloft, cupped his ears, then made a pumped fist gesture - prompting one fan to throw a lighter which missed him by a few feet.

At around 10pm that night, Cowan went on Facebook and posted: "Somebody give me a weapon and I will shoot this little terrorist c*** in the head with impunity.

"I'm serious. I would.

"I can get one, not a problem. Police Scotland are probably all over it now though. I have previous for firearms so I'm expecting a chap soon."

Cowan tried to cover his tracks by deleting the messages, but he was snared after screenshots of the posts were passed to police, leading to his arrest and conviction.

Cowan admitted his guilt at a previous Paisley Sheriff Court hearing, pleading guilty to breaking Section 6 (1) and (2) of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012.

Procurator Fiscal Depute Tom Bowman said the comments had been posted on the forum's Facebook page from Cowan's own Facebook page, on his password-protected mobile phone, while he was in his home in Johnstone, Renfrewshire.

A defence lawyer said Cowan was "a functioning alcoholic" whose threats were "stupid, drunken bravado" on which he had no intention of following through.

Sheriff Craig Harris placed him on a two-year Community Payback Order, which will see him supervised by social workers and do 200 hours' unpaid work. He also placed him on a Restriction of Liberty Order.

Sheriff Harris said: "These were vile messages."

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