Lennon 'fraught' over death threats

Lennon 'fraught' over death threats

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has told UTV he considered leaving football when he was the subject of death threats.

Bullets and parcel bombs were sent to the Lurgan man in the latest in a series of personal attacks.

The 41-year-old was previously targeted when he was a player, leaving Northern Ireland in 2002 after a warning from sectarian gangs.

He said the attacks in 2011 were "fraught times" which made him question his future as a manager.

"There were very fraught times - particularly the season before last - when you're thinking 'Is it really worth doing it?'

"I had a lot of police intelligence who kept me informed of what was going on [...] but the one thing that kept me going was the players.

"Coming in and seeing them work every day, trying to improve, that whole environment that I worked in. I brought them here from all over the world and I felt as if I owed them that.

He added: "Thankfully things have turned a corner in all aspects of that. It's just amazing."

Lennon also denied he is "confrontational... bullish and not afraid to speak his mind", describing himself instead as a "strong character".

He explained: "If I feel that there's an injustice or something to say about certain football aspects I will say it, but I'm not confrontational.

"If you ever see a newspaper there's always a picture of me pointing the finger at one of my players, shouting at him as if I'm doing it for 94 minutes. But I do have time where I think about things in great depth.

Looking to the future with the hoops, Lennon said while some players will be leaving the club - including Republic of Ireland striker Anthony Stokes - he is also hoping to bring new players in.

Portuguese forward Amido Baldé could be on the move from current club Vitória SC with Lennon expected to lay down a £2.5m bid for the player.

But for now, Lennon is reflecting on last season's victories in the Scottish championship and Scottish Cup.

He added: "The way we finished off the season, it was a perfect day for us all and on reflection there was a great way for the three years to end."

© UTV

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