Hearts vow to support probe into Josh Magennis abuse claim

Josh Magennis challenges Hearts defender John Souttar. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Josh Magennis challenges Hearts defender John Souttar. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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HEARTS have vowed to fully support a police investigation into Kilmarnock player Josh Magennis’ claim he received ‘anti-Irish’ abuse during his team’s 1-0 defeat at Tynecastle yesterday.

The striker, 25, complained to police after he allegedly received the abuse from the Wheatfield Stand. Magennis, a Northern Ireland internationalist, also raised the issue with officials from both clubs.

A Hearts spokesperson said: “The club can confirm that following yesterday’s game, a complaint was made to Police Scotland by a Kilmarnock player.

“The Kilmarnock player alleges that an abusive comment was made relating to his nationality by an individual seated within the home end at Tynecastle. The alleged abusive remark related to the player being Irish. The player is from “Northern Ireland. To clarify, this allegation does not involve the player’s colour, religion or sexuality.

“Senior figures from both clubs were present when the player made the complaint and discussed the matter fully thereafter.

“Heart of Midlothian FC has a number of players of different nationality playing in the current squad and is very proud of the international make-up of our team. We will fully support any police investigation into reports of abuse such as the one which has been reported.”

Police said the man was believed to have been seated in the Lower Section E of the Wheatfield Stand. The suspect is described as white, with a stocky build, in his mid 40s, with dark hair that is receding on top. He was wearing dark glasses and a dark jacket that possibly had red lining.

PC Gavin Stupart of Wester Hailes said: “Racial abuse is absolutely unacceptable, in any circumstances.

“The behaviour of the majority of fans at Tynecastle on Saturday was excellent and I want to thank both clubs for their cooperation.

“We’re conducting various enquiries in an effort to trace the perpetrator and I’d ask any witnesses to this abuse, or anyone who recognises the description of the suspect to come forward.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.