NEIL LENNON has openly spoken of his experience with sectarianism in Scotland and his experience of the "brilliant" Glasgow rivalry.

The former Celtic boss had previously been under guard over threats of violence, been targeted with bomb threats and sent bullets in the post.

Lennon had also been sent a death threat ahead of a match for Northern Ireland as a player which led to his retirement from international football.

But the former Celtic player and manager insisted he continued to push on despite the sectarian abuse from those with a "distorted view".

Explaining his outlook after suffering the abuse throughout his career, Lennon told ESPN: "Over the years, I've never talked about politics, I've never talked about Ireland, I've never talked about religion. 

"It's just all about football. I'm a football man and I have been since I was born.

"The one thing you wanted to do was prove you could be a success on and off the field, whether you were playing or managing.

"I remember going into Celtic, looking at the young players -- kids from Honduras and South Korea, the Scottish, English and Welsh boys, really talented players from all over the world and thinking, 'I'm not giving this up. They've come here to play for you and they are giving you everything at the minute.' I couldn't give that up for those who have a distorted view."

Despite enduring difficult times when being targeted through sectarian abuse during his playing career, and first time in the Celtic manager's hotseat, Lennon explained he is not affected by the horror events now.

And he went on to discuss his more positive experience in his second time as Celtic boss as he saluted the "intense" football rivalry in Glasgow.

He continued: "There were no real issues with the sectarianism the second time around at Celtic, which is for the better obviously.

"I started the nine in a row, we won nine in a row and the club won four trebles. I was part of the third and the fourth.

"It was inevitable that it was going to stop at some stage. It was impossible to keep that momentum of success going.

"The Glasgow rivalry is intense, but it is brilliant. It pushes you and turns you into a winner. I don't think that ever leaves you, those values and lessons you learn stay with you for the rest of your life."