Lennon support for Black
Celtic boss claims treatment of Rangers midfielder was uncalled for
Last Updated: August 17, 2012 8:33pm
Neil Lennon: Empathised with Ian Black after the treatment he received
Neil Lennon empathised with Ian Black after the Rangers man was booed by some Scotland supporters during their friendly against Australia.
Black was a controversial call-up as Scotland boss Craig Levein had omitted Ibrox team-mate Lee Wallace due to him playing his football in the fourth-tier this season.
But the abuse hurled at Black has been widely condemned and is something that Lennon can sympathise with after getting booed while playing for Northern Ireland.
The Celtic boss, a Roman Catholic, was booed at Windsor Park by some of the predominantly Protestant home support, and also received death threats leading to his international retirement.
And Lennon decided to speak out regarding the treatment of the Rangers midfielder.
He said: "It was uncalled for. The kid was making his debut. Part of it is probably banter with the Hibs fans but still, it was a very big day for him and a special moment for him.
"I don't want to make too much of it, I was booed myself but for different reasons obviously, but it is not nice and hopefully that will be the first and last of it.
"I think he is a strong character and listening to his comments after the game he was still very positive.
"With the venue being where it was, there was maybe always a chance that he might take a bit of stick anyway.
"I think if the venue was either Hampden or (elsewhere in) Glasgow, I don't think that scenario would have popped up."
Lennon added: "I got booed everywhere - I got booed in the house. We all know the reasons behind that, because he (Black) was a Hearts player for so long and he was a bit of a rascal as it were - and there is nothing wrong with that - and he rubbed people up the wrong way.
"The majority of those fans at the game wouldn't have been Glasgow Rangers fans, Celtic fans or Inverness fans, the majority of them were probably at Easter Road to give him a bit of stick."
Asked if it was anything to do with Black's Rangers connection, he replied: "No. Why would it be? I wouldn't have thought so."