Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 17:34 UK

Lennon knocked out during attack

Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon received hospital treatment after the incident

Celtic coach Neil Lennon was knocked unconscious while being assaulted in Glasgow on Sunday, the club has said.

A Celtic football club spokesman said Lennon was the target of "sectarian abuse" while walking home alone.

The former Celtic and Northern Ireland player was then subjected to a "serious assault" by two men during which he was "knocked unconscious", the club said.

Lennon was taken by ambulance to the Western Infirmary and treated for a cut to his eye and concussion.

The attack happened hours after Celtic lost their SPL home match against Old Firm rivals Rangers.

A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman said: "Police were called at 12.25am to a report of a 37-year-old man assaulted in Ashton Lane.

The assault came after Neil was subjected to sectarian abuse. It is understood that during the course of the attack Neil lost consciousness.
Celtic FC spokesman
"The injured man was taken to hospital then released after treatment for minor injuries.

"He did not wish to make a complaint; however, police inquiries are ongoing into the incident."

Police described one suspect as white, 40 to 50 years of age and of heavy build. He was wearing a light-blue shirt and a black leather jacket.

The second suspect was described as white and between 40 to 50 years of age. He was wearing a light-coloured shirt.

A Celtic spokesman said: "We can confirm that while walking home alone last night, Neil Lennon was the victim of a serious assault by two men.

"The assault came after Neil was subjected to sectarian abuse.

"It is understood that during the course of the attack Neil lost consciousness.

"He was then taken by ambulance to hospital where his injuries were treated and he was later released.

"Strathclyde Police are carrying out an investigation into the assault, and clearly Neil will be fully co-operating with this."

'Sectarian abuse'

A friend of Mr Lennon, who did not want to be named, said the Celtic coach had gone out for a drink with friends in Ashton Lane at about 2200 BST.

The friend said that when Lennon left shortly after midnight he heard someone shout sectarian abuse.

He said Lennon was then "jumped from behind, hit over the head and knocked unconscious".

The Celtic coach was spotted lying in the street by a steward from a nearby pub, who called an ambulance.

The friend said Lennon's partner, who had been trying to contact him, was "extremely distressed" when she learned that he was in hospital.

In September 2003, two students were fined after an attack on Lennon in Glasgow.

In another incident, vandals daubed graffiti outside his home in Glasgow in May 2004.

In 2003, Lennon vowed he would never play for his country again because of a reported death threat.

Loyalist paramilitaries insisted the warning was bogus, but Lennon, a Catholic, said he was not prepared to suffer any more sectarian victimisation.

He had previously been booed by sections of the Northern Ireland support.

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