Celtic chief Peter Lawwell thanks fans after home targeted in deliberate fire

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Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has thanked fans for their support after he and his family were targeted in a “devastating attack”.

They were forced to flee their home after an explosion and fire at the property in Thorntonhall, South Lanarkshire, which police are treating as deliberate.

A man was spotted on CCTV pouring accelerant on cars in the garage in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Mr Lawwell said the family have been “deeply affected” by the incident, but they have drawn comfort from “literally thousands of messages of support” from Celtic fans and the football community.

Police road block in Thorntonhall
Police and the fire service are carrying out a joint investigation into the blaze (PA)

He said: “This has been a devastating attack on myself and my family, the effects of which will stay with us all for a long time.

“I am, of course, extremely relieved that everyone is safe. I would like to thank my wife and my family for their support and for the strength and courage they have shown during such a difficult time.

“Naturally my family has been deeply affected by these events. This is a hugely challenging time but we will make sure we stay strong and we will get through this together.”

A joint investigation by Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has found three vehicles were deliberately set alight, which also resulted in extensive damage to the garage.

Eight fire engines were sent to the scene to extinguish the blaze after the alarm was raised at around 1am on Wednesday.

The male suspect seen on CCTV is described as around 5ft 10in and of slim build.

He was wearing black joggers, a black hooded jumper with the hood up, black trainers and a face mask.

A silver or grey hatchback car was also seen near the house at the time of the fire.

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Mr Lawwell urged anyone with information about the incident to contact police.

He said: “I wanted to take this opportunity to offer my thanks to the fire service for their skill, bravery and professionalism in dealing with the fire, and Police Scotland too for their support and professionalism.

“I also thank the Celtic board and Celtic staff for all the support they have given me. It has been fantastic and sincerely appreciated.

“As a family, we have received literally thousands of messages of support from Celtic fans and from people across the wider global football family. This has provided us with great comfort and we all offer our heartfelt thanks for the concern and support which people have shown.

“Clearly, I echo the words of Police Scotland and would ask that if anyone does have any relevant information which could help this investigation, to please come forward.”

Police appealed to anyone who was in the area and saw a man or car matching the description, or any unusual activity, to contact them.

Detective Inspector Susie Cairns said on Wednesday: “This was a completely reckless act which destroyed three cars and caused significant damage to the property’s garage.

“The consequences could have been so much worse but thankfully nobody was injured during this incident.”