Thursday, May 11, 2017

11 May 2011 - As If The Title Challenge Wasn't Exciting Enough

On 11 May 2011, with Celtic leading Hearts 0-2 at Tynecastle, manager Neil Lennon was attacked by a home supporter.

Since taking charge of Celtic in 2010, Lennon had attracted more than his fair share of unwanted attention, receiving bullets in the mail in January 2011, followed by an attempted letter bombing in March. While religious sectarianism seemed an obvious motive given its history in Scottish football, authorities believed the incidents were more likely fueled by sports rivalries.

When Celtic visited Tynecastle to play Hearts for their penultimate game of the season, they were trailing Rangers by four points, but had a game in hand. Hearts, meanwhile, were in a distant third, having already lost twice to Celtic, 3-0 and 4-0.

The third match in the series followed the pattern of the first two, with Celtic going up 0-2 in the 49th minute thanks to Gary Hooper's second goal of the day. It was at that point that Hearts supporter John Wilson jumped the barrier and tried to attack Lennon, but was quickly wrestled to the ground by a combination of police and stewards, then apprehended.

Celtic went on to win the match 0-3, but ended up finishing in second by a single point. Wilson was later convicted of breaching the peace and received an eight-month jail sentence.

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