‘It could have damaged a player’ - Neil Lennon slams Celtic fans for throwing flashbang

Vaclav Hladky reacts after Celtic fans celebrating Ryan Christie's goal threw a flashbang. Picture: SNS Group
Vaclav Hladky reacts after Celtic fans celebrating Ryan Christie's goal threw a flashbang. Picture: SNS Group
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Neil Lennon has warned Celtic fans that throwing flashbangs onto the pitch is putting everyone at risk of harm, including their club’s own players.

The manager was angered that another controversial incident served to deflect the attention from Celtic moving to within two wins of the title after last night’s 2-0 win over St Mirren.

They could win the league as soon as this weekend if they beat Livingston and Rangers fall to defeat the following day against Motherwell.

But the main topic after the win at the Simple Digital Arena was another episode of fan misbehaviour. A flashbang thrown from the Celtic fans after Ryan Christie put his side two in front saw the game held up for several minutes. St Mirren ‘keeper Vaclav Hladky was understandably alarmed by the noise behind him. St Mirren manager Oran Kearney, who had already used all his substitutes, feared Hladky might be unable to continue.

Christie was also seen to jump as he made his way back up the park after celebrating.

“It serves no purpose in a football ground,” said Lennon. “I don’t see the motivation for anyone to bring a flashbang or pyrotechnic into a stadium. The health and safety of the players is paramount.

“It didn’t just spook the St Mirren ‘keeper, but some of our players too. Ryan was also spooked and the goalie could have burst an ear drum. It delays the game when we have scored a goal and want to get going again.

“It serves no purpose whatsoever. The club have made a real stand in condemning at times,” he added. “I don’t understand why people want to do that. There is no logic in it.

“Why does an individual want to bring that to a game? It doesn’t impress anyone, it doesn’t add anything.

“It just damages people - and it could have damaged a player. It damages the reputation of the good fans we have and we just don’t want it. It’s just totally uncalled for at a time when we should be enjoying football and hopefully having a big celebration in a week or two.”

Lennon praised his players for keeping their focus as they close in on the title. He was particularly pleased to be able to call on Christie for the first time since he returned as manager. The midfielder has been out for five weeks with a hamstring injury.

“Ryan brings a lot to the team,” he said. “There was spark, creativity and a bit pizzazz. He makes things happen and his enthusiasm gave us a big lift.”