NEIL LENNON branded the racist abuse in Bulgaria during the England game as bitterly disappointing. The Irishman also claimed Lazio’s punishment for the ’embarrassing’ charge of racial abuse has taken some of the sweetness away from what is big game for both sides.

The Parkhead gaffer is no stranger to discrimination and he was open and honest about the racial abuse going on in the game at the moment.

Lazio will have part of their stadium closed for Celtic’s visit because of racial abuse which went on during the Rennes game in the previous round of Europa League fixtures.

Asked about the whole situation – Lennon didn’t hold back.

“Bitterly disappointing – I know some of the stadium is going to get closed – a game we’re all looking forward to. Taking the sweetness away from it all,” he told Celtic TV.

Asked if he would take his team off the field if racial abuse was to mar either game against Lazio – the Celtic manager didn’t rule it out but suggested he would have talks with security and his team before anything was decided on the evening.

“It’s a hypothetical question, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Obviously we’ll be guided by the club and people behind the scenes before we take to the pitch.

“I think the security forces will be involved in that and I’m sure we’ll get the right advice and guidance from them.

“It’s embarrassing for individual countries.”

Neil Lennon was also asked if UEFA and even FIFA deterrents were enough, it was clear what he thought.

“No, what a fine and a game behind closed doors? I don’t think it’s working.”

Celtic welcome Lazio to Celtic Park on Thursday while the return leg is pencilled in for two weeks later. We would love this to be just about the football and hope the games pass without incident. The bhoys are in a strong position in the group with four points from their first two games.