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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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By ESPN Staff

Lennon won't quit after threat

Neil Lennon believes he should not have to put up with threats to his safety but is adamant that they will not drive him away from Celtic.

• Lennon appreciates support

Strathclyde Police launched an investigation earlier in the week after parcel bombs "designed to cause harm'' were sent to the Celtic boss, Paul McBride QC and Labour politician Trish Godman. Bullets were sent to Lennon earlier in the season and a suspicious package addressed to him was intercepted last month.

Ahead of Sunday's Old Firm derby at Ibrox, Lennon said: "Anyone in any walk of life shouldn't have to deal with something like this. It is uncomfortable, you see your face every hour on the hour on the news and after a while you start thinking 'is that me they are talking about?'

"And I had to deal with that on the day of a very important game (against Kilmarnock). I'd like to thank the police for all their briefing and the professionalism they had shown and the security they have given me over the last week, ten days, they have been absolutely fantastic and made life as easy as possible under the circumstances.

"I've had this for ten years but I don't want to say you get used to it because you never do. It's been with me during my time as a player, my time as a coach and my time as a manager. But it is not going to deter me from doing what I want to do.

"For me this is the greatest privilege in my life, to manage this football club and the support I've had from the fans and my close family and friends has been my strength.''

Asked if this would have happened at any club other than Celtic, the Irishman replied: "It wouldn't, no. And it's not because it's my aggressive behaviour on the pitch any more. A lot was said about that when I played and I think you all know the reasons why these things are happening now. It's good that people are talking about it and we will get something done about it.''

Rangers manager Walter Smith believes the parcel bomb threat targeted at his Celtic counterpart Neil Lennon was a new low in the history of the Old Firm rivalry.

Smith at times struggled for words to describe his despair over the news that two viable devices had been sent to Lennon. Other devices were sent to the Celtic manager's high-profile lawyer, Paul McBride QC, and former MSP Trish Godman, who was recently pictured in a Celtic strip. All four bombs were intercepted.

Rangers and Celtic meet for the seventh time this season in their crucial SPL contest at Ibrox on Sunday but the game has been overshadowed by the police investigation.

Smith, who first joined Rangers 25 years ago, said: "It has been a bad week for us, I've got to say, and for the Old Firm historically. In the 20 years I've been involved and being from the west of Scotland, I've never known a week quite like this. It's sad.

"When you look at people like Neil Lennon and the other couple of people involved in threats, it's something that unfortunately goes far beyond the footballing aspect.''

Smith himself is understood to have been warned by police about his own security amid fears that the parcel bomb publicity could spark copycat attempts.

The 63-year-old said: "You always worry, the people I have just mentioned have had a direct threat and it's them and their families who have got to handle this situation.

"Regardless of what any of us say, for football to get to this level is entirely wrong. And the people who are behind it ... you struggle to find the words actually to say how you feel about the overall situation.'

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