A FATHER and son have been banned from the Scottish Cup final after being charged over a brawl at Glasgow Central Station, which saw a man lose an ear.
Hibs fans Andrew Blance, 47, and Jamie Blance, 25, received bail conditions barring them from attending the Hampden final against rivals Hearts, while Jamie was also banned from all football matches involving the Easter Road side.
The pair appeared before Glasgow Sheriff Court following a mass fight with Ayr United fans on March 10. One man was taken to hospital as a result of the incident after a Scottish Cup quarter-final at Somerset Park in Ayr, between Ayr United and Hibs. A severed ear was found at the scene.
Andrew Blance made no plea or declaration while Jamie Blance pleaded not guilty to the charges. It is understood 23 people have so far been charged following the punch-up.
Police have remained tight-lipped over operations to prevent hooligan elements clashing when the rival Edinburgh sides meet in what will be a highly charged Cup final, but it is expected that potential flashpoints, such as Harthill Services on the M8, would see increased patrols on May 19.
The News told last week how officers at Lothian and Borders Police would be working extra shifts over cup final weekend amid fears that football rivalry and all-day drinking could prove “an explosive mix”.
But today a former senior officer, who wished to remain anonymous, said intelligence gathering to pinpoint known football casuals would be under way, with identified hooligans then monitored by police.
He said: “There’s always a difficulty in putting a security and public order blanket on an event while keeping it light-handed and positive.
“There will be an intelligence exercise going on to identify who potential troublemakers are and they will be kept away from the ground if they are banned. If they arrive at the ground they will be supervised and monitored.”
He added: “A very small amount of people can cause a huge amount of trouble unless you are very careful”.
Whilst admitting that the Edinburgh derby lacks the sectarian ferocity of an Old Firm game, the ex-police officer said areas of the Capital, and especifically Harthill Services, will be monitored.
“Harthill is the only stopping point between the Edinburgh and Glasgow and so it will be very well policed,” he said. “They will be there in numbers and make sure there is no clash or potential clash between fans.”