Sectarian song claims are ‘wide of the mark’ – Petrie

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HIBS chairman Rod Petrie has denied allegations that Hibs supporters have been singing sectarian songs at Easter Road

The comments were made by high profile Celtic supporter Paul McBride QC when he appeared on the BBC Radio Scotland programme Sportsound on Monday evening.

During a discussion of UEFA’s recent claims of sectarian chanting made against Celtic, the criminal lawyer – who has represented Celtic on a number of occasions – said he had heard Hibs supporters sing songs in support of the IRA.

The claim was challenged by a listener but McBride refused to take back his comments.

Petrie said: “The suggestion by Mr McBride QC on national radio is wide of the mark.

“I am pleased to say that religion and politics are not part of the fabric of our club and they are not part of Hibernian supporter singing and celebrations at Easter Road Stadium.”

A statement from the club read: “Hibernian FC and its supporters are not complacent in their quest to ensure a match day atmosphere free of sectarian chanting or other offensive behaviour. Supporters groups and the Club work very effectively together with the Police, to eradicate offensive behaviour of any kind at Easter Road Stadium.

The statement added anyone attending Easter Road stadium who took part in offensive behaviour would be is immediately dealt with by the police and football club, as was the case following the Sunderland match earlier this season.

“Hibernian FC is also currently working positively and productively with the police and Scottish government as part of the consultation process on the proposed legislation focused on sectarian and offensive behaviour.

Hibs fans were also left furious by the remarks. Mike Riley of the Hibs Supporters Association said: “It’s an amazing statement.

“I have never heard IRA songs being sung by Hibs supporters and I have been going to Easter Road for nearly 50 years.

“We take the same stance as the board – religion does not come in Hibs. Everyone is welcome at Hibs and everyone is welcome at Easter Road.

“We don’t have any prejudice whatsoever.

“I’m quite sure if any of our club members had heard supporters singing IRA songs they would have come to us