Johan Mjallby has backed Celtic manager Neil Lennon describing him as a "great guy" and a misunderstood character.
Ahead of Sunday's crunch Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Motherwell at Celtic Park, the Hoops assistant again took over media duties from the Irishman who found himself once more in the national spotlight after being the subject of an alleged attack by a fan during the 3-0 win against Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday night.
The former Celtic skipper, who also had a bullet sent to him earlier in the season, has had round-the-clock security since the first of two parcel bombs addressed to him was intercepted at a Royal Mail sorting office in March, but Mjallby is at a loss as to why Lennon inspires such vitriol, saying: "I really don't know."
He added: "He has always been in the spotlight as a player and now even more so as a manager.
"It seems that some people think he is a provocative figure which he is not.
"In a strange way he seems to upset people and there's probably not much he can do.
"But those who are closest to him believe in him and think he is a great guy. He is a winner and his will to win and compete is second to none.
"I think it is a bit disappointing that he has been in the limelight when it comes to matters outside football.
"I think it is such a shame because we want to speak about the team and the way we have performed this season.
"He is in a good mood but obviously he wants the team to be the main focus because they have been performing very well lately, especially on Wednesday (at Hearts), we were brilliant.
"And now we want to focus on the last two competitive games of the season, two very important ones."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.