NEIL Lennon has revealed Charlie Mulgrew will be fined for his controversial use of Twitter this week and has warned his players they will be banned from having accounts on the social media network if they “damage the reputation” of Celtic.
Mulgrew caused a stir on the eve of Celtic’s Champions League game against Ajax when he posted a photograph of a naked couple — the man closely resembled Mulgrew himself – on his Twitter page. The Scotland midfielder later apologised for any offence caused by the tweet.
Celtic manager Lennon says he has issued guidelines to both his players and their partners over the potential pitfalls of Twitter and made it plain the club will take strong action if they are breached. “It’s not just the players who have been warned, but the players’ wives as well,” said Lennon. “I have told the players that anything damaging the reputation of the club will lead to a heavy fine and we might have to stop them using it altogether. We have made them clear on that.
“There have been other episodes before this week where I have taken a dim view. We have made it pretty clear there is a certain line you can’t cross – and Charlie putting up naked pictures wasn’t one of his brightest ideas, I have to say. So he will get punished for that.
“I do have some sympathy for how easy it can be to get caught up in things on Twitter. But the players should be experienced enough now to know what they can and cannot use on a public site.”
Mulgrew’s tweet came just a day after Lennon was caught up in a Twitter spat with Hibernian striker Rowan Vine. Responding to Lennon’s criticism of what he claimed were overly physical tactics by Hibs in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw between the teams at Easter Road, Vine tweeted: “Might get me mate Alan Shearer to send him another size 9 Umbro Speciali in the dish if he don’t pipe down” in a reference to Shearer’s boot in the face of Lennon during a match between Newcastle United and Leicester City in 1998.
After Lennon responded by tweeting “Did I read that right?”, Vine insisted his comment had been “light-hearted” but apologised for any offence caused.
Lennon was happy to draw a line under the row with Vine, suggesting the English forward may have had cause for sober reflection on his Twitter activity last weekend.
“He has backed down and apologised for it,” added Lennon. “He probably regrets it now and it was done in the heat of the moment.
“He might have had a pint at the time, I don’t know. It’s not personal. It’s not the end of the world. You move on. It’s no big deal for me. Do I accept his apology? Yeah, we move on. It’s not a huge issue for me at all.”
Lennon is a prominent and regular Twitter user himself and believes it does have a productive and positive side, such as when he used it to publicise his part in the Great Scottish Run earlier this month.
“There are a lot of good things I can use it for,” he said. “For example, I did that 10k run the other week and raised a lot money.
“If I hadn’t had Twitter, I probably wouldn’t have raised nearly as much. So there are benefits and, like everything else, there are drawbacks as well.”
Lennon, meanwhile, remains optimistic that captain Scott Brown will succeed in his appeal against the three-match Champions League suspension imposed for his red card against Barcelona earlier this month.
Brown will appear in person at the Uefa hearing in Switzerland next week, hoping for a similar outcome to recent cases that have seen Wayne Rooney and John Terry have three-match bans reduced.
“We believe it’s important Scott goes in person and puts his case across,” said Lennon. “We’ll have legal representation with him as well.
“It has made a difference in the past. Wayne Rooney did it and so did John Terry, who had his ban reduced. So we’re hopeful there will be a semblance of fairness going into it and I’m sure there will be.
“If it gets reduced to two games and we have him back for the home match against Milan next month, great, it’s worthwhile doing. Personally, I still maintain that the ban is excessive. The half-hour he missed against Barcelona and 90 minutes against Ajax this week is enough.
“The annoying thing is that we will now be missing Nir Biton as well after his red card on Tuesday night. I had no complaints with that one. We’ll now have to keep a close eye on Beram Kayal to keep him right for the Champions League games, because, if Scott’s appeal isn’t overturned, he will become even more pivotal for us.”