Neil Lennon can't promise that passions won't bubble up yet again

CELTIC manager Neil Lennon admits he cannot guarantee that passions will not boil over again in the way they did last year when he clashed on the touchline with Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist - but insists there was an over-reaction to that incident.

The two men had to be restrained when Lennon reacted angrily to what appeared to be a remark by McCoist as they shook hands following Celtic's win in a Scottish Cup tie.

Police will brief players and officials about their responsibilities ahead of this weekend's games. Lennon admits he cannot guarantee passions will not boil over again this season but insists there was an over-reaction last time.

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"You would try to avoid it," Lennon said yesterday, when asked about a possible repeat. "I'm not making any promises that that won't happen again but I'm sure that it won't. Passions run high, we need to keep a lid on things.

"Everyone has a responsibility towards calming things down, managers, players and media and maybe not make mountains out of molehills when it comes to certain incidents. But we have spoken to the referees about the situation and we have the police coming to brief the players. We know what we can and cannot do. We all aware of the greater responsibility going in to the season."

Meanwhile, Lennon has joined Terry Butcher in criticising the early start to the SPL season.B utcher described it as "farcical", claiming that most clubs have still not assembled their squads.

Lennon said. "I go along with that. It's too early. We finished on the 21st of May and we were back in on the 23rd June. Some of my players have had a fortnight's break. Physically they are all right but you wonder about mental fatigue kicking in later on in the season."