The Daily Record makes a “terrible mistake”

I recall being in the media room at Hampden Park awaiting Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager in May 2012.

The Parkhead side had just lost to Kilmarnock in the League Cup Final.

There were a few contentious issues to ask the Irishman about, and the assembled press pack were ready.

The door opened, and I recognized Celtic’s in-house PR guy.

In walked Neil Lennon flanked by one of the biggest human beings I have ever seen.

He was the bodyguard assigned to the Celtic manager.

I was told that the land mass following Lenny around was ex-US Marine Corps.

I did not doubt this information for a minute, and I’m told he’s a really nice guy.

For the avoidance of doubt, his very presence would have been enough to put the Dunkirk Spirit into any of The People.

On the way back from Hampden that day I thought at the time there could not be many other managers in British football who required a highly trained personal minder.

The incident is worth recalling because it puts the following in context.

A journalist who works for a Scottish Sunday paper got in touch with me yesterday regarding the ‘Celtic tax story’ that had appeared in the Daily Record.

He was quite exercised about it, but not anything that appeared in the copy, but rather his issue was with the layout of the print edition splash.

He sent me a scanned pdf, and I immediately saw what he was alluding to.

I have it here, but I will not reproduce it.

One can quite clearly see an address for Peter Lawwell on a document pertaining to the tax scheme that was referred to in the copy.

It took me several seconds using nothing more than Google to find an architect’s website justifiably proud of the house that they had built at that address.

There are photographs from various angles and what appears to be a full set of drawings.

I believe that I was looking at the personal residence of the Celtic Chief Executive.

Dear reader, Mr Lawwell is employed by a football club whose manager required close personal protection at his job.

Two men were sent to prison for sending Neil Lennon what the Crown alleged to be an improvised explosive device.

These fine fellows also sent similar contraptions to the late Paul McBride QC and Trish Godman MSP.

The latter’s ‘crime’ was that she turned up to the Scottish Parliament in a Celtic shirt.

Messrs Muirhead and McKenzie also posted one to the Irish Republican organization Cairde na hÉireann.

These two men were imprisoned for five years.

During the same period, Neil Lennon and two Celtic players; Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn received bullets in the post to Celtic Park.

This is the classic death threat beloved of Loyalist paramilitaries.

An individual within the North Antrim ‘Brigade’ of the Ulster Defence Association was suspected of being the author of these threats.

However, no one was ever brought to justice for this sinister attack.

Yesterday I sent the Daily Record page to a media commentator in London.

He replied “Terrible mistake by Record.”

I’m sure they’ll apologize to Mr Lawwell in due course.

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