FORMER Hibs striker Garry O’Connor has been pitched into the centre of a football coin-throwing scandal after a tweet condoning pelting ex-Hearts star Rudi Skacel was posted.
O’Connor seemed to deem hurling coppers at his Jambo rival acceptable in an incendiary tweet posted online following a powderkeg Manchester derby which ended with United’s Rio Ferdinand being injured by a thrown coin.
The tweet read: “The Manchester derby was class 2day! Sum aptmosphere! Feel sorry 4 @rioferdy5 gettin hit by a coin . . wudnt wish that any1 apart from Skacel!”
But the 5500 people following “O’Connor” are today wondering who it really is after a string of apologies seemingly from someone claiming to be an imposter were posted on the account.
It now appears the 29-year-old, who currently plays for Russian side Tom Tomsk, was an unwitting fall guy, as the Twitter account – which listed such credible followers such as current Hibs player Leigh Griffiths and shamed Hearts star Craig Thomson – has since been decried as fake, despite apparently including pictures of his children.
The mysterious phony O’Connor, who bemoaned “Baltic” conditions in Russia, somehow managed to befriend relatives of the real deal on Facebook, allowing him access to family pictures to create a credible account.
But the ex-Scotland international’s agent, Martin Reilly, said: “Gary has never had a Twitter account. I’ve had this conversation with him a number of times but the guy just doesn’t do Twitter.
“These fake accounts really are distasteful and I fail to see what the people behind them get from it all. Be assured that we will be speaking with lawyers and relevant authorities.”
The fake tweeter’s coverwas blown yesterday when he was challenged by a poster called Anon Sco, who claimed to be O’Connor’s lawyer, and warned: “Advise you remove this Twitter page immediately as a representative of Mr O’Connor, police are investigating.”
Within minutes, a panicked string of apologetic messages appeared on the O’Connor account.
One read: “Sorry to @RudiSkacel51 for my tweets. I wish you the best and success in your career.”
The tweeter also said sorry to ex-Hearts boss Paulo Sergio, before adding: “This account is a parody. Sorry to all that I’ve offended in anyway.”
A rising number of fake accounts have forced Twitter to launch a verification scheme which sees celebrities issued with a “blue tick”.
Social media expert Kate Bussman said: “What you usually see are parody accounts rather than someone actually pretending to be someone else, as these type of accounts are usually spotted quite quickly.
“This Garry O’Connor account does sound sinister, though, given the extent of the everyday tweets and the posting of family pictures.”