Billy Connolly backs Neil Lennon and says sectarianism is holding Scotland back
Football authorities in Scotland must do more to ensure there is no repeat of the scenes in last weeks Edinburgh derby, says Hibernian boss Neil Lennon.
Lennon was hit by a coin in the goalless draw with Hearts, while a man has been charged with the assault of Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal.
0:38 Neil Lennon feels there are double standards between his treatment compared to Jose Mourinho's. Neil Lennon feels there are double standards between his treatment compared to Jose Mourinhos. Neil Lennon has defended Jose Mourinho’s post-match celebrations after Manchester United beat Juventus and says he knows exactly how the Portuguese felt.
A man has also been charged with assaulting an assistant referee in the game at Tynecastle on October 31.
Connolly cited Lennon, the Hibernian manager, being given a touchline ban by the Scottish Football Association for celebrating his sides goal in a 5-5 draw with Rangers last season. Lennon, who ran on to the pitch and mimicked an aeroplane, later said he had been subjected to sectarian abuse for 90 minutes by Rangers supporters before reacting to the goal.
Bigots are holding Scotland back, claims Billy Connolly
“What that solution will be I dont know. Taking away someones season ticket isnt enough I dont think.”
Mr Lennon, the manager of Hibs, said he believed he suffered anti-Catholic “racism” in Scotland after he was struck by a coin during a game with Edinburgh rivals Hearts.
Nicola Sturgeon speaks about abuse of Neil Lennon
In the wake of last months Edinburgh derby, Alfredo Morelos was struck with a coin in Rangers victory over St Mirren in Paisley on Saturday, with Saints chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick claiming one of his own players was struck by an object.
I unequivocally condemn anti-Catholic bigotry, anti-Irish racism, I condemn sectarianism in any shape or form and this government will continue to take the action we need to take to ensure that Scotland is a country that demonstrates zero tolerance of any of that kind of bigotry.
“Its down to the individuals as well,” added Lennon. “You would think after what happened on Wednesday night [against Hearts] that would be the end of it but then you see what happens to Alfredo [Morleos] who is just celebrating a goal.”
In the book, he also revealed the toll that Parkinson’s disease has taken on his life, having being diagnosed in 2012, and said he has put himself forward as a stem-cell research “guinea pig” to find a cure for the disease.
Clubs are punished for the actions of fans when competing in European competitions, under the strict liability rule. This is not the case domestically, with Scottish Professional Football League members voting overwhelmingly against such a proposal in 2013.
Chris points out, the Manchester United boss got a rise out of the Juventus fans with many saying the game would be ‘boring’ without Jose’s character.
And Lennon agrees punishments such as ground closures for clubs when their fans misbehave would be a step too far.
“You are punishing the clubs then and I think that would be a little too extreme because youre punishing the other supporters as well – the 99.9% who are good supporters, who want to enjoy a game of football,” he added.
“I unequivocally condemn anti-Catholic bigotry, anti-Irish racism, I condemn sectarianism in any shape or form and this government will continue to take the action we need to take to ensure that Scotland is a country that demonstrates zero tolerance of any of that kind of bigotry.
The comedian told of his sadness at football-related bigotry and called for more to be done to bring an end to it.