PRESTON ATHLETIC today condemned the actions of “mindless idiots” that sparked a pitch invasion and marred their Scottish Cup second-round replay against Queen’s Park on Saturday.
Play had to be halted for five minutes in the second half as police restored order following crowd problems in the aftermath of Preston scoring in their 2-1 defeat.
In a club statement, the Prestonpans club apologised for the disorder and vowed to liaise with police about what lessons could be learned.
The statement on the club’s website read: “Preston Athletic FC is both sad and angry that the behaviour of a small group of people spoiled a great family day out at our Scottish Cup replay against Queen’s Park.
“The club liaised closely with the police and local authorities before the match and the level of security was agreed as appropriate. Everyone, including the police and officials of Queen’s Park FC, has recognised that the “pitch invasions” were by a small group of youngsters celebrating the goals by both clubs and that the other incidents were clearly not the actions of genuine Preston Athletic supporters.
“Despite the club’s best efforts, the actions of a few spoiled a great sporting event for the many. The club recognises its responsibilities to ensure that all matches are conducted in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone. Consequently we will be liaising with the police and local authorities to determine what lessons can be learned and how to put in place appropriate corrective and preventive actions. We will identify those involved and they can expect bans on attendance at any future matches.
“The police and match officials are to be thanked for their positive response to a negative situation. Our understanding is that there were no arrests within the stadium and that the offences which have been referred for prosecution related to other incidents.
“It is a matter of record that one person has already received a significant custodial sentence. The club takes no pleasure in anyone going to jail but it welcomes a clear signal this sends that those who indulge in anti-social behaviour that spoils the pleasure of others will face severe consequences.
“Finally, we apologise to all the good fans of both clubs who witnessed an excellent Scottish Cup match but had their pleasure diminished by a small group of mindless idiots.”