The Hearts v Celtic fixture at Tynecastle on Wednesday night, a key fixture on the SPL calendar and a Premier league decider, will unfortunately be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Reports of sectarian singing throughout the game, disturbances between fans and police and stewards and the vicious attack on Celtic’s manager Neil Lennon have added yet another stain on the current season.
The latter incident during which Neil Lennon was attacked on the touchline by a Heart’s fan adds to a series of attacks in recent months directed to the Celtic’s manager and condemnations have come from all corners of Scottish football and institutions.
Celtic F.C. Chief Executive Peter Lawwell stated: “It is intolerable that any football club, or individual, going about their lawful business in the name of sport should be subjected to this ongoing campaign of hatred and intimidation. This is Scotland’s shame and it is high time Scotland addressed it”.
SPL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster said: “We have made it clear how much we deplore the actions of the individual who attacked Neil Lennon on Wednesday evening. The SPL is currently investigating the incidents at the Hearts v Celtic match on Wednesday evening. This investigation will be carried out quickly, but thoroughly. At a time when we should be concentrating on the excitement and drama of another ‘Helicopter Sunday’, it is a source of huge disappointment that the incidents at Tynecastle have overshadowed all the positive stories around the game in Scotland.”
Andy Walker, former Celtic player and now television pundit, said that he had “I've been involved in the game for close to 30 years and I’ve never known anyone at any club to be so hated, so loathed, as Neil Lennon is…. That is nothing to do with football. That is to do with Neil Lennon, who he is, the society in which we live in and I think that's the problem we really need to address…..It would be a terrible reflection of Scottish football and Scottish society if Neil chose to walk away from this, but who could blame him?"
Finally, Hearts legend and Red Card ambassador Gary MacKay added: “There is absolutely no place in our national sport for verbal and physical attacks on coaches, players or opposition supporters. In a game that, by and large, is played passionately and respectfully these acts of violence and intolerance cannot and should not be condoned”.
Show Bigotry the Red Card calls out, once again, to all supporters, clubs and institutions in the country to stand up against sectarianism and violence for the sake of our national game and a safe and equal Scotland.