Neil Lennon hails Rangers fans after he paid tribute to Fernando Ricksen

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has hailed the “fantastic” reception he received from Rangers supporters when he paid tribute to Fernando Ricksen at Ibrox.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon and chief executive Peter Lawwell pay tribute to Fernando Ricksen at Ibrox. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS
Celtic manager Neil Lennon and chief executive Peter Lawwell pay tribute to Fernando Ricksen at Ibrox. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS

Along with Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell, Lennon laid a wreath outside the stadium last week following Ricksen’s death at the age of 43 from motor neurone disease.

Lennon, who will attend Ricksen’s funeral in Glasgow on Wednesday afternoon, believes the reaction to the former Rangers captain’s sad passing has illustrated a mutual sense of respect which underpins the normally hostile Old Firm rivalry.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“It’s what we should be talking about, it gets overlooked sometimes,” said Lennon. “There is intense rivalry but there is respect there as well – especially at a time of a desperately 
tragic situation.

“Fernando was a player of my era and I think it resonates more with me than it would with some of the older generation.

“Even though I knew he was unwell for a long time, it still comes as a big shock when he has passed on.

“The reaction I got from the Rangers fans last week was fantastic. I’ve been there previously on the anniversary of the Ibrox disaster and got a fantastic reception then as well.

“You saw John Greig coming over to Celtic Park when Billy McNeill passed away earlier this year and the reception he got from Celtic fans.

“So there is that deep-lying respect there. The fans sometimes don’t want to show it – but they really do have it.”