Lennon attack fan in court

A MAN will appear in court today after invading the pitch and trying to land a punch on Celtic manager Neil Lennon during last night's clash with Hearts at Tynecastle.

In an incident that stunned British football, the 26-year-old supporter leaped the advertising hoardings shortly after Celtic scored their second goal in the 3-0 victory.

He charged towards Lennon and tangled with the Northern Irishman before being wrestled to the ground by stewards and Celtic coaching staff.

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The incident sparked trouble between Celtic fans and police in the ground.

Lothian and Borders police said the man would appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today in connection with the incident,

It is understood the Tynecastle club could face a fine for the incident, though any further punishment such as a ban on fans at future matches is unlikely.

In May 2009, a fan was fined 400 after running on to the pitch and attacking Hibs striker Derek Riordan at Tynecastle.

The game was beamed across the UK on Sky Sports 1, and commentators remarked at the lack of security around Lennon in the away dugout.

The attack has been condemned by police, Hearts officials and First Minister Alex Salmond, who recently held a summit about sectarianism.

Last night's atmosphere was more tense than usual given that Celtic had to win to keep their title hopes alive.

The clubs traditionally have a fierce rivalry, with Celtic fans singing songs last night describing Hearts as the "wee Huns" - a jibe suggesting they are a miniature version of Old Firm foes Rangers.

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Pro IRA songs from the away fans could be heard throughout last night's match.

Lennon himself has been at the centre of bigoted hatred ever since he arrived in Scottish football ten years ago.

The Northern Irish catholic had to retire from his national team after death threats, and has been attacked more than once in Glasgow city centre.

Since his appointment as manager last season, that ire has intensified. Parcel bombs addressed to him have been intercepted - an issue police were today addressing by carrying out raids in Ayrshire.

A Hearts spokesman said: "An investigation into events is now under way. Hearts is a club which prides itself on its 'football for all' policy."

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said: "Clearly this kind of behaviour is unacceptable."

A police spokesman said: "Police will fully investigate all of the incidents that occurred at the match."