FORMER Rangers striker Kris Boyd has praised Celtic great Neil Lennon for speaking publicly about his struggles with depression as he launched his mental health charity.

The 35-year-old has set up the Kris Boyd Charity following the tragic death of his younger brother Scott from suicide in 2016.

The Kilmarnock forward wants to raise awareness of mental health issues and provide support to people experiencing anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

He believes Hibs boss Lennon, who revealed he had suffered from depression in 2000, has saved lives by going public on his battles and he is determined to do the same.

“For me Neil has been seen in a totally different light since that," said Boyd.

“A lot of people would come out and say he was a hothead, but most people didn’t understand what was going through his head.

“When he first openly spoke about it I think it would have saved a lot of people. If someone like that can come out and speak it can only help.

“If a Celtic captain, a Celtic manager can speak about it why can’t others?"

Boyd added: "For this charity I will be at the forefront and I will try to engage with as many people as I possibly can. But we need more people to come forward.

“I know it is in football dressing rooms, I know there are people struggling out there. The key thing is that is not just football.

“This is something I want to tackle. I want to put all my effort into it. I’ve never been one to shy away from any scenario or bury my head in the sand. I’ll always be at the forefront of anything I do.

"This will involve a lot of hard work. But I firmly believe the charity will be a success. Hopefully we’re sitting here in a couple of years’ time with success stories.

“If that is the case then I would sit and take more pride from that than anything I achieved in football because it is someone’s life. Yes, football has given me a good life, but when you get right down to it life is more important than anything.

“I’m fully equipped in terms of coaching going forward, I’m equipped in terms of media work, but this is something I want to get my teeth into and help a lot of people.”

Boyd conceded it would not be easy for him to face up to the death of his brother on a daily basis by fronting the charity, but it is something he is prepared to do.

“The most important thing for me is if I can help one person and stop their family going through what mine has gone through, especially my mum and dad,” he said.

“I feel if I go and tackle it I can help a lot of people. I can raise awareness. There are loads of different charities, foundations, different companies, individual people, out there doing a fantastic job right now. But they also need help in raising awareness.

“We need to do everything we possibly can. As men, there is always a period where you feel down, but you are the big strong guy and you don’t want to admit it. You just carry on through it. It is about breaking that barrier down and saying it is alright to speak, it is alright to open up.

“Yes, I will be at the forefront, but it is something I don’t mind being at the forefront of because if it helps the charity to go out there and have one success in the near future and it stops somebody’s else’s family going through what I have then it will have been worth it.”

The charity will attempt to help anyone experiencing mental health issues whether they are involved in football or not, but Boyd believes it is important for the game to tackle what he believes is a widespread problem.

“There’s a lot of people in football who are scared to open up,” he said. “For whatever reason, and that’s why there’s still so many problems within the game. It’s not until they leave that they start looking back on things and ask themselves why they didn’t open up."

Boyd will be helped by Donald MacNaughton, the renowned Scottish performance coach, who will offer free consultations through the charity.

Kris Boyd was the speaking at the launch of his Charity to raise awareness and funds for Mental Health. The inaugural event is a Valentine’s Ball at Ayr Racecourse on 17th February. For more details go to