HEARTS’ high-profile clash at Ibrox descended into chaos after the game was abandoned a quarter of the way through and supporters’ buses came under attack as they made their way home.
More than 2000 Hearts fans travelled to Glasgow for Scotland’s biggest football fixture of the weekend only to find the match called off after 23 minutes.
Supporters told how they came under attack from Rangers fans as they set off to travel back to Edinburgh in hazardous weather conditions, with missiles and bricks said to have been thrown at buses.
Within the stadium, Hearts fans complained of being showered with spit by rival supporters in the stands above without any attempt from security staff to intervene.
And they said they were ambushed by Rangers supporters as they exited the away end after the game was cut short.
The turmoil at the showpiece fixture came as heavy snow blanketing the central belt sparked travel disruption, causing roads to be closed and delaying flights.
Breakdowns and stranded vehicles could be seen along the M8 while other routes were blocked by abandoned cars in Strathclyde as well as Dumfries and Galloway.
Pictures depicting Hearts supporters’ buses with broken windows were posted on social media and it is understood the club’s team coach had to be moved to a different exit at Ibrox Stadium to avoid the ugly scenes.
Phil Turnbull, a digital media executive at Hearts, tweeted that club personnel received a police escort when leaving the stadium. It came after television pictures showed rival fans jostling inside Ibrox with a line of stewards battling to maintain order.
Footage also showed Rangers fans causing disorder as they tried to break into the stadium following a protest over claims the board was ready to mortgage off Ibrox and Murray Park to Mike Ashley.
Willie Duncan, 32, a member of Danderhall Hearts Supporters Club, said attempts were made by both sets of supporters to cross a police cordon within the ground. “It was a really emotionally charged night and it’s difficult for the stewards but I don’t think there were enough of them to deal with it,” he said.
“With the game being abandoned after 20 minutes and the problems outside the stadium, the situation puts Scottish football in a really bad light to what was a national TV audience.
“There have been difficulties getting sponsorship for the leagues and incidents like this don’t help its profile.”
A source close to Hearts said they received reports of fans being attacked by Rangers supporters as they left the stadium.
“Rangers fans came from both sides of the away ends and got laid into supporters,” they said.
“If you were wearing maroon you were fair game it seems.”
Rangers have confirmed tickets for the abandoned fixture will be valid for the rearranged game.
A Hearts spokesman said: “The club has the deepest sympathy for the fans that made the hazardous journey through to Glasgow. Many of them got into the game after kick-off due to the delays on the roads and barely saw a few minutes’ action before it was abandoned.”
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