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'Child-like' actions led to Lennon punch-up; COURT.

Byline: By MAGGIE BARRY

A LAWYER yesterday told a court a "childish wind-up" started the incident which led to Celtic coach Neil Lennon being knocked unconscious.

David Phinn, defending one of the accused, David Whitelaw, said: "We live in a city where there's an incredible passion for football.

"The outcome of a game can drastically affect the mood for the worse for the team that loses and for the better for the team that wins and so offers the opportunity for banter and for wind-ups.

"The instigation of the incident in Ashton Lane was a childish attempt to wind up Neil Lennon, which resulted in unfortunate consequences.

"He regrettably appears to have risen to the bait by showing his middle finger."

Whitelaw, 47, and his co-accused Jeffrey Carrigan, 43, both of Knightswood, are on trial at Glasgow sheriff court charged with assaulting Lennon to his severe injury after a Rangers v Celtic game on September 1, 2008. They deny the charges.

Prosecutor Mark Allan said that regardless of what Lennon, 37, may have said or done, it resulted in a "vicious and cowardly assault"

He said: "Whatever it was that went before, whatever was said, whatever was done, what followed from this was not defensive action, it was not for protection.

"What followed was attack and retaliation."

The jury is expected to return a verdict today.

CAPTION(S):

WIND-UP Neil Lennon
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 16, 2009
Words:231
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