Hearts to go unpunished for fan assault on Neil Lennon

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is attacked by a fan at Tynecastle
A Hearts fan jumped from the stand at Tynecastle to attack Neil Lennon

Hearts will not be punished for the assault by a supporter on Celtic manager Neil Lennon at the end of last season at Tynecastle.

A fan ran on to the pitch and attacked Lennon during a Scottish Premier League game with Celtic on 11 May.

An SPL report concluded that Hearts' stewarding and police arrangements were consistent with safety requirements.

The SPL board subsequently decided that no further action would be taken against the Edinburgh club.

The supporter in question has been charged with breach of the peace and assault exaggerated by religious prejudice and has been banned for life from Tynecastle Stadium by Hearts.

The SPL board noted that both Celtic and Hearts had implemented fully the guidance for clubs on unacceptable conduct issued in 2007 to aid full compliance with regulations.

A statement said that Hearts had identified the fixture as a high-risk game, and, in addition to the normal pre-operations meeting between the two clubs, Lothian and Borders Police and security firm G4S, the Edinburgh club had arranged an earlier meeting with Lothian and Borders police to specifically discuss safety and security aspects of the match.

The SPL board also considered reports from the match delegate and the match referee in reaching their conclusions.

Earlier this month, Hearts revealed they had taken steps to avoid a repeat of the scenes.

Celtic's ticket allocation will be reduced by around 400 for the next match at Tynecastle on 1 October to create two "clear" zones in the Roseburn Stand.

There will also be an increase in the number of stewards around both dug-out areas.

The measures were outlined in a letter which the Edinburgh club sent to supporters.

A Hearts spokesperson said at the time: "These plans will be put in place in advance of the next match versus Celtic at Tynecastle and have the support of both the police and the stewards.

"We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour of any sort by home or away fans."

Celtic were fined £45,000 after on-pitch disturbances which marred the Old Firm title decider against Rangers in May 1999 when referee Hugh Dallas was struck with a coin and some fans were led from the pitch.

And both Celtic and Rangers have been fined by Uefa for disturbances on the pitch in European competition.

The Parkhead club had to pay £25,000 to Uefa in 2007 when a fan confronted AC Milan keeper Dida during a Champions League match and received a £42,000 fine by Uefa in 2008 after a supporter ran on the pitch at their Champions League match against Manchester United.

Similarly, Rangers were fined £4,230 by Europe's governing body for a pitch invasion that interrupted their Uefa Cup tie with Maccabi Haifa in November 2006.

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