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Posted by Andy Muirhead on 02/03/2012

In this afternoon's press conference, Celtic manager Neil Lennon has hit out at The Scottish Sun, following what Lennon deemed as trying to 'stir up some sort of controversy that isn't really there'.

The Scottish Sun reported on its front page that Celtic first team coach Alan Thompson and Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor went for drinks at a pub in the West end of Glasgow on Wednesday night.

But Lennon labelled the article a 'nothing story' and that the paper's attempts to stir up controversy was 'disgusting'.

Lennon said: "The media are the ones who say that more should be done to put away the sectarian element. I’ve been there myself when Allan’s been in and held his company for 15 to 20 minutes and it’s a very difficult thing to do in Glasgow sometimes."

He added: "But every now and again it happens and now, all of a sudden, one of the tabloids want to make a whole big thing about it."

He told the press conference at Lennoxtown: "One of my staff and Allan McGregor frequent the same pub. Wow. It only sort of stirs it up in my eyes. What I think they’re trying to do is stir up some sort of controversy that isn’t really there. I think it’s disgusting."

The article in this morning's Scottish Sun written by Robert McAulay quoted unnamed club insiders and claimed that Lennon had 'flipped' when he discovered that Thompson had been out for drinks with the Ibrox goalkeeper.

McAulay also claimed that Chief Executive Peter Lawwell was expected to speak to the manager and coaching staff about the incident.

What incident though? Two members of two different clubs out on a Wednesday night in the same pub, that's not an incident, it is called socialising.

The unnamed [convenient] insider claimed that: "Lennon's not a happy man. Thompson goes out for a fairly substantial drink the night before a training session — and with someone from the opposite side of the Old Firm. It's not clever on a couple of levels."

And again McAulay produced a quote from another source, this time a senior source at the club, who added: "The club know of stories surrounding some of the coaching staff's lifestyles away from Celtic Park. They have been spoken to about this before, but the club felt at that point it was not affecting the jobs they were doing.This may change now."

"Two blokes going out for a booze-up together shouldn't really matter. But these are very well known faces in the Old Firm. They have to be particularly careful with their behaviour, both with members of the public and keeping in mind the kind of jobs they have to do."

Again what behaviour? Nothing happened, they went out for drinks and then returned to their respective homes later that night. There was no trouble at all, yet the quotes and the report in the Scottish Sun is trying to paint a totally different picture - now why is that?

The article then ends on Thompson's previous convictions for drink driving, yet Thompson was not involved in any criminal activity on Wednesday night. The article then briefly talks about McGregor's infamous 'Boozegate' scandal, but the major emphasis was placed on Thompson's part in going to a pub where McGregor was also.

This 'article' comes a day after Iain King published an exclusive interview with Rangers owner Craig Whyte, who had taken exception to the Sun's rival paper the Daily Record producing an article on Whyte's dealings with Ticketus and the sale of season tickets. An article that failed to ask the big questions, that failed to ask the tough questions for fear of losing their exclusive article.

It's not the first time that the Scottish mainstream media, nor specifically the Scottish Sun have resorted to dramatising events surrounding Celtic. Case in point I wrote an article on this very blog back in July 2011, after some Rangers fans had paid for a plane to fly above a game that Celtic were playing in down in Australia. It was entitled Is the Scottish Media stirring up the hatred towards Neil Lennon? You really should read it again to refresh your memories, if you haven't read it yet it does make for interesting reading.


Posted by Joe on 02/03/2012

Great post. Two adults were at the same bar and they happen to work for different employers.

Rangers have been making negative headlines lately for their club being broke. It looks like an editor somewhere felt the need to invent a story to even the score.

Posted by Connor on 02/03/2012

Couldn't agree more. The gutter red tops are quick in an attempt to create hysteria over two adults having a beer, but the biggest sports story in Scottish history has been conveniently ignored.

Once again I'd like to issue a rallying cry that Celtic supporters stop buying these red top rags that are eager to stoke the sectarian fires to get a headline.

Posted by John on 02/03/2012

Jim Baxter and Pat Crerand used to be out on the bevvy as regular as clockwork. I think all the players and staff should be FORCED to socialise. It would be one in the eye for the bigots and help to take the hatred out of a section of Scottish society. People of different opinions and religions getting on doesn't sell newspapers though! Everyone knows that most tabloid journalists are scum so why does anyone take it seriously?

Posted by John on 02/03/2012

You're dead right Connor,
They don't buy the Sun in Liverpool after Hillsborough so why not boycott all that crap in Glasgow?

Posted by john flaherty on 02/03/2012

the price and the date is the only truth in any newspaper.why decent people buy them is one of lifes fact sun sorry some of them are only good for toilet paper.

Posted by gerry bhoy67 on 02/03/2012

hmmm I guess we must have an important game comming up this weekend !!!!

Posted by Stevie on 02/05/2012

I would encourage fans of all Scottish football teams not to buy the Sun, for one it's English with a couple crap scots jurnolists.
Two it'll tell half truths about anyone and anything.
Gutter rag.

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