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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 September, 2003, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Two fined after Lennon attack
Neil Lennon
Lennon was pursued by the students
Two students have been fined for an unprovoked attack on the Celtic midfielder Neil Lennon.

Gregg Miller and Neil MacLeod chased after the player's car on Great Western Road, Glasgow, on 8 May.

The city's sheriff court heard that the drunken pair were involved in a verbal exchange with Lennon which ended with MacLeod headbutting the player.

Both admitted breach of the peace and MacLeod, of Airlie Street, Hyndland, in Glasgow also admitted assault.

Neil Lennon was simply minding his own business, until you both proceeded to get involved
Sheriff John Montgomery
MacLeod, of Airlie Street, Hyndland, Glasgow, was fined 700 and Miller, of Westholm Avenue, Rubislaw, Aberdeen, was fined 200.

The two University of Glasgow students had also been charged with shouting sectarian abuse but the Crown accepted not guilty pleas to that allegation.

The pair spotted the former Northern Ireland international in his car on Great Western Road at about 0100 BST as he drove back from Celtic's win over Motherwell in his BMW.

It was alleged that the pair, who had been drinking, wanted to have a "bit of banter" with the footballer, who was accompanied by a woman.

'Worse for wear'

Sheriff John Montgomery told them: "This may have started off in good humour, but it deteriorated to the extent that it ended up in an assault.

"Neil Lennon was simply minding his own business, until you both proceeded to get involved."

Robert Bloomer, prosecuting, said: "They were the worse for wear, but approached the complainant's car at traffic lights and started talking football tactics.

McLeod (left) and Miller (right) outside court
MacLeod (left) and Miller (right) outside court
"It began as a bit of banter, but soon deteriorated."

The pair started hurling abuse and spat at Lennon, who rolled down his car window and shouted: "I might be a scumbag, but I will still be a millionaire in the morning."

Lennon tried to drive away but was stopped at a red light and the pair caught up.

He got out of the car and there was a scuffle with MacLeod.

The law student headbutted Lennon causing a small head wound and both fell to the ground, the court heard.

Passers-by intervened and the footballer was able to get away.

Accused received hate mail

Miller, a second year medical student, later handed himself in to police.

David Hall, defending Miller, said he was "horrified" by his behaviour and he had been subjected to hate mail since the attack.

"He is sorry for what happened and accepts the concern it has caused for everyone, including his parents," Mr Hall said.

MacLeod's lawyer Peter Watson said it was "a classic misjudgement involving young men and alcohol".

He dubbed MacLeod's attack on Lennon as "like a rag doll taking on a tuned athlete".

Both students now face an internal disciplinary inquiry by the University of Glasgow, which said it had a strict code of discipline.

A range of penalties could be imposed, including expulsion.




SEE ALSO:
Lennon faces SFA rap
15 Sep 03  |  Celtic
Second man denies Lennon attack
20 Jun 03  |  Scotland
Lennon attack charge denied
11 Jun 03  |  Scotland
Students accused of Lennon attack
22 May 03  |  Scotland


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