Celtic Boss, Neil Lennon on why “We can’t just tarnish the betting companies.”
by Glenn Baird - January 22, 2020
Following Hamilton manager Brian Rice’s self-reported gambling addiction, 3 of Scotland’s Premiership managers have spoken out about gambling in the sport.
In a series of interviews on the BBC, Celtic manager Neil Lennon, Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes and Livingston manager Gary Holt have all spoken about the influence of gambling in Scottish football.
McInnes spoke the change he has seen in the dressing room following the introduction of gambling bans in the sport:
“I was brought up in dressing rooms where we would bet on ourselves,” he said. “We’d get the coupon in and say we were five-to-one to win, we’d all lump it on.
“Before the rules became a lot stricter a wee two or three line team accumulator to win a wee bit extra money, it was always an interest and dressing rooms were full of chat after a game about who won and who didn’t and how much money was won.
“I genuinely don’t see that now. I still see, my boys will still play cards when we go travelling.
“So there’s some sort of gambling there, but actually betting on other clubs and other teams, I don’t see that.”
Neil Lennon, manager of Celtic, who are officially sponsored by Dafabet had this to say on the matter:
“I think the betting companies do put a lot into the game, for the right reasons and they do have restrictions at times on the amount that people can use.
“We know that some players can get carried away and it’s not just football, it’s other sports and all walks of life as well. So you can’t just tarnish the betting companies with this sort of situation. I think that’s totally unfair.
Livingston’s Gary Holt who has seen his team battle against their diminutive resources to gather a series of impressive results together, including a memorable win against champions Celtic spoke about supports that have been put in place for footballers in Scotland:
“We talk openly about mental health, about people not being afraid now to talk, to open up and not be embarrassed by it. It’s the same with any addiction, whether it’s drugs, drink, smoking, gambling. There should be people and procedures in place where we can help.”
Since Brian Rice self-reported himself to the SFA there has been a show of support from some of the big names associated with Scottish football. Rangers manager and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has asked that Rice is shown leniency by the footballing authorities in Scotland, whilst former Celtic and Arsenal striker, John Hartson has offered to take Rice to Gamblers Anonymous, having suffered addiction himself in the past.