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Monday 20 March 2023 Dublin: 13°C
INPHO/Donall Farmer
Celtic boss Neil Lennon targeted in parcel-bomb attack
Three devices – sent to Lennon, his lawyers and a senior politician – were all viable explosive devices, Scottish police say.

CELTIC FOOTBALL CLUB manager Neil Lennon and two other high-profile supporters of the Glasgow football club have been targeted by parcel-bomb attacks, according to Scottish police.

The three devices were discovered in postal systems in the west of Scotland over the past month, a police source told the Guardian, and all three packages were viable explosive devices and were not hoaxes.

The package address to former Northern Ireland international Lennon was intercepted by the Royal Mail, but a device posted to prominent Labour politician Trish Godman – known for being a supporter of the club – was delivered to her constituency office before her staff grew suspicious about its contents.

A third package, addressed to Lennon’s lawyer Paul McBride QC, was intercepted by a postal worker and brought to police attention. All three packages, Strathclyde Police confirmed to Sky News, were intended to “maim or kill” and were not mere hoaxes.

All three devices contained a combination of high explosives and nails, they added. The package sent to Lennon was posted on March 26, while the McBride package was posted in the past few days.

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Scottish football writer Roddy Forsyth said the media had become aware of the devices on Saturday, but that the media had been asked not to publicise the details at the time.

Lennon yesterday told the paper that he was “fine” about the intended attacks, though he described them as “a nuisance”.

Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond said there was a “major police investigation underway to ensure that the individual or individuals concerned are identified and apprehended.”

Media reports in the UK suggest that police believe the threats are the actions of a rogue supporter of the rival Rangers football club, a club whose fans enjoy strained relations with Celtic supporters as a result of Glasgow’s sectarian divide.

The devices mark a worrying continuation of events earlier this season, which saw Lennon receive bullets and death threats through the post. As a result, Lennon and his family have been forced to leave their home and live under 24-hour surveillance at an undisclosed alternate location.

Other Celtic players Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn, both of whom are Northern Ireland internationals, have also received such threats – while their teammate, Republic of Ireland footballer Anthony Stokes, has also had his home attacked and death threats issued against him.

Lennon – a Catholic – was forced to end his international football career after being appointed captain of the Northern Ireland team in 2002, a move which prompted death threats from inflamed Loyalist followers of the team.