NI MAN’S BROTHER TELLS OF HATE STORM

Belfast Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - BY ALLAN PRE­STON

A CELTIC sup­porter from Por­ta­d­own has been sub­jected to a bar­rage of death threats af­ter he in­vaded the Scot­tish team’s Park­head pitch to con­front Paris Saint-Ger­main for­ward Kylian Mbappe, the fan’s brother has claimed.

John Hat­ton (21) has been at the cen­tre of a me­dia frenzy since he slipped past se­cu­rity at the Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fier at Celtic Park on Tues­day and at­tempted to kick Mbappe.

He aimed a kick at the France striker but failed to make con­tact be­fore be­ing whisked away by stew­ards.

Pic­tures of Hat­ton’s kick and then of him be­ing marched off the pitch by se­cu­rity have since made na­tional head­lines.

But he has also been at the cen­tre of a vi­cious so­cial me­dia back­lash.

He ad­mit­ted to the pitch invasion and as­sault at Glas­gow Sher­iff’s court on Wed­nes­day and is now due to be sen­tenced in Oc­to­ber.

The 21-year-old Tesco em­ployee has also been banned from every foot­ball ground in the UK.

Speak­ing from the fam­ily home in Por­ta­d­own yes­ter­day, Cil­lian Hat­ton said his younger brother had made a stupid mis­take and that on­line abuse against him had gone too far.

“We don’t want this, he’s get­ting death threats and has his face in all the pa­pers,” he said.

“He made a stupid mis­take, but you’ll find out he has a clean record and is a quiet boy.

“This is first time do­ing some­thing like this, that’s not him.

“He’s no other choice but to face the con­se­quences, but all this hate di­rected at him is too much.”

“Peo­ple have posted our ad­dress on­line, ask­ing peo­ple to come get and him.

Added Cil­lian: “This is all Celtic fans, by the way, this is what I’m dis­gusted about as we’ve been Celtic fans all our life.”

Cil­lian said his brother was still “stranded” in Scot­land, hav­ing lost his wal­let, ID and money.

“As far as I’m aware he’s writ­ten to the club and apol­o­gised him­self.

“We’re anx­ious to get him home, for his well­be­ing and the well­be­ing of this house,” he said.

Cil­lian said his younger brother was cur­rently study­ing youth work and had par­tic­i­pated in cross-com­mu­nity work in the lo­cal area in the past.

“He’s a quiet boy, no one round here can be­lieve it, not even us,” he said.

A sec­ond Celtic fan, 61-yearold An­thony Lavelle from Hert­ford­shire, was fined £400 af­ter he ad­mit­ted punch­ing John Hat­ton on the head as he was led from the grounds by se­cu­rity.

Cil­lian Hat­ton said he took ex­cep­tion to the way Mr Lavelle was be­ing “hailed as a hero” by some sup­port­ers on so­cial me­dia.

He added: “I haven’t seen this level of hys­te­ria for pre­vi­ous in­ci­dents at Celtic matches, some­times with a large group of peo­ple in­volved.

“Now there’s this one kid and ev­ery­body’s jump­ing on him and it’s not right.

“The wee fella doesn’t know whether he’s com­ing or go­ing.”

Dur­ing John Hat­ton’s ap­pear- ance in court, his de­fence lawyer Dan Cameron said: “The in­ci­dent wasn’t viewed on tele­vi­sion screens. It was 40 min­utes into the match. He was taken by se­cu­rity stew­ards al­most im­me­di­ately from the pitch.

“The match wasn’t dis­rupted for any great length of time.

“He had con­sumed a lot of al­co­hol and can only re­mem­ber parts of the day.”

On Wed­nes­day morn­ing, the foot­ball gov­ern­ing body Uefa opened dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings against Celtic, charg­ing them with a count of “field invasion”.

Their case is due to be heard by Uefa on Oc­to­ber 19.

In the past six years, Celtic have al­ready been fined £160,000 for 12 of­fences.

The most re­cent took place in Glas­gow when fans flew a para­mil­i­tary-style flag when Lin­field vis­ited Celtic Park.

A fur­ther sanc­tion in Oc­to­ber means the club could be forced to par­tially close their sta­dium for a Euro­pean fix­ture.

John Hat­ton con­fronts Kylian Mbappe and (left) is led away by Celtic stew­ards

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