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Standing firm: Neil Lennon’s Celtic have stood by their fans

Standing firm: Neil Lennon’s Celtic have stood by their fans

Standing firm: Neil Lennon’s Celtic have stood by their fans

Celtic have launched a firm defence of their supporters amid the fallout to an interview by Alfredo Morelos.

The Rangers striker is reported to have claimed he had experienced racism during his time in Scotland during a television interview conducted in Spanish.

But Celtic have questioned the accuracy of a translation which claimed he had accused home fans of shouting racist abuse at him at Parkhead on December 29.

Rangers had previously claimed the Colombian was racially abused when walking off following his late red card as they defended the forward's cut-throat gesture towards supporters in the main stand.

A statement from the Scottish champions read: "Celtic, a club open to all since its inception, abhors racism. Our consistent stance is that wherever racism exists it should be tackled head on.

"Celtic will always investigate any report of racist behaviour and take appropriate action. This is a standard all clubs should meet.

"Celtic needs no encouragement to pursue racism, particularly as players and management at the club have suffered abuse persistently over the years.

"The seriousness of such cases has been confirmed with the prosecution and criminal convictions of some of the perpetrators.

"Celtic is proud of the wonderful reputation earned by its supporters over many years in many countries and at home. The club owes it to them to act in a responsible, dignified and professional manner and to treat racism with the seriousness it deserves."

The club have asked for Sky Sports to investigate the translation of its interview with Morelos, claiming the forward did not accuse Celtic fans of using racist words.

A spokesperson for Sky Sports said: "We are aware of concerns raised about the content of the interview with Alfredo Morelos, while we are checking those we have removed the material from all our platforms."

Police Scotland confirmed on December 31 that the force was investigating complaints of racism towards a Rangers player.

Meanwhile, Neil Lennon has been given a VAR pep talk by Scottish referee officials ahead of Celtic's Europa League last-32 clash with FC Copenhagen later in the month.

The Hoops will be playing under the system for the first time in Denmark on February 20 and in the return game in Glasgow.

Crawford Allan, head of referee operations at the Scottish Football Association, and Fifa referee Willie Collum met with Lennon to give him a run down on how VAR, causing so much controversy in the Premier League, will be implemented for Celtic.

Ahead of the trip to Motherwell in the Premiership tonight, Lennon said: "We had a meeting with Crawford Allan and Willie Collum with the situation with VAR going into the Europa League and that was explained.

"So we are prepared for that and it will be interesting to see how that pans out."

Belfast Telegraph