Fan cleared of sectarian attack on Celtic boss jailed

A FOOTBALL fan cleared of a sectarian assault on Celtic manager Neil Lennon was jailed for eight months for a breach of the peace at the match and handed a five-year football banning order.

John Wilson, 26, was accused of a sectarian attack on the football boss as his side played Hearts in a crucial Clydesdale Bank Premier League game at Edinburgh’s Tynecastle stadium on May 11.

A jury at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month found the charge against the unemployed labourer was not proven.

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The verdict came despite Wilson telling the court that he had lunged at Lennon and struck him on the head in an incident he claimed was not of a sectarian nature.

Celtic said the acquittal was “difficult to comprehend”.

Television viewers looked on as Wilson invaded the pitch and charged towards Lennon during the match earlier this year. The incident unfolded after Celtic went two goals up.

At the trial the jury of eight men and seven women took two and a half hours to find Wilson guilty of conducting himself in a disorderly manner, running on to the pitch, running at the away team dugout, shouting, swearing, causing disturbance to the crowd and breaching the peace.

Sheriff Fiona Reith QC told Wilson he was convicted of a “serious” crime amid a “highly volatile” atmosphere in a crowd of more than 16,000 football supporters.

She told him: “There was evidence that there was a ‘terrible’, ‘very tense’ and ‘poisonous’ atmosphere in the stadium between both sets of supporters, with racist and sectarian shouting.”