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Is Nowhere Safe For Lennon

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12 May 2011 10:25:03

Is Nowhere Safe For Lennon

24 hours a day security for Neil Lennon failed last night as everybody expected he would be safe to do his job. Now that the dust has settled a bit from last night's security breach at Tynecastle, the investigations begin. All SPL ground have stewards and police to prevent fans encroaching on the field of play. However, the system failed last night as a fan managed to run some distance and get to Neil Lennon, who was concentrating on the game, and just missed making contact with the Celtic manager. The footage of the incident shows one steward move from the stand to get to the intruder and the first man to react in a move to prevent injury was assistant manager Alan Thompson. While the incident took people by surprise, it was the lack of speedy reaction from the police that surprised me in view of the threats already sent to Lennon.  The football authorities have begun an investigation into the attack which happened after Gary Hooper scored his second goal in the 49th minute.  SFA chief executive Stewart Regan and his SPL counterpart Neil Doncaster have met to discuss how the incident was allowed to happen. Immediately after the game Regan said: "Clearly this kind of behaviour from supporters is wholly unacceptable. The safety of players, club officials and match officials is paramount on or around the field of play, and this clear breach of security is a matter I will be discussing with SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster." Doncaster added: "The SPL deplores the actions of the individual involved. This type of behaviour has no place in Scottish football. The SPL will undertake a full investigation and will be reviewing reports from the SPL match delegate, match officials, the police and the clubs."  Regan released a statement following today's meeting which said: "In discussions with Neil Doncaster this morning, the Scottish Premier League have confirmed they have initiated an investigation into the unsavoury events at Tynecastle last night. I am also aware that Heart of Midlothian are carrying out their own review of internal security measures at the club and have agreed to co-operate fully with both the police and the football authorities. I reiterate my condemnation of this blight on the image of Scottish football and expect to see robust plans in place to protect players and officials at all times." Lennon's assistant Johan Mjallby admits he would not blame Lennon for walking away from the game in Scotland. Mjallby said: "He is a strong character, he has coped with much. The backroom staff are desperate for him to continue but no one could blame him if he decided not to. I would never blame him whatever he does. I'm shocked and Neil must be even more afraid. What if he (the supporter) had something in his hand? But it is too early to say how Neil will react. I am shocked myself, I see it on television all over the world but I haven't seen it myself. We all have to look into this, a manager should be secure inside a football ground." Hearts manager Jim Jefferies also believes Lennon might get fed up with the game if he continues to be a target. He said: "For what he has had to contend with, I wouldn't blame him for walking away."  Just as peace was being restored in the technical area, trouble flared in the Celtic section of the stadium with fans appearing to fight with police and stewards. A police spokesman said: "A number of incidents took place during this match, including some violent disorder. Lothian and Borders Police will fully investigate all of the incidents that occurred at the match and will work closely with both football clubs and the SPL." Hearts have also launched an investigation and vowed to give their full co-operation to the authorities. A club statement read: "An investigation into events which took place in the second half of the game against Celtic is now under way. Hearts is a club which prides itself on its 'Football for All' policy and these sorts of actions have no place in the game of football. We will give our full support to the stewards and police authorities in the ensuing investigation into the events at the match."


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