At least 50 football casuals have been identified at round-table talks aimed at rooting out troublemakers bent on exploiting tensions surrounding the biggest Capital derby in history.
And it is understood the prospect of rogue Chelsea fans infiltrating the Hearts support and stirring up disorder was also discussed at the security summit, though these fears are thought to have subsided with the English club now competing in the Champions League final in Munich on the same day.
Official figures for the Lothians show 13 people are currently banned from Scottish football matches – six Hearts fans and seven Hibs supporters – but this number does not include those barred under bail restrictions for alleged hooligan or offensive behaviour.
Police in Strathclyde said crackdowns on hooligan elements would be intelligence-led and vowed to deal “robustly” with any outbreaks of disorder at the fixture which is considered a high risk – on a par with an Old Firm game.
Strict security measures will be in place at Hampden, including sniffer dogs trained to detect smoke bombs and flares. Post-match revelry in Edinburgh will provide the biggest headache for Lothian and Borders Police, with officers expected to tour selected licensed premises to provide a visible presence across the city.
A series of policing and security meetings have been held between police forces in Glasgow and Edinburgh, British Transport Police and both Capital clubs.
It is understood all have shared information about potential hooligan elements but it was noted that despite the rivalry, Hibs and Hearts fans are generally of impeccable behaviour.
But an insider, close to the talks, spoke today of the “what if” factor. He said: “There has been talk of fans connected to Chelsea coming to the cup final as well but their involvement in the Champions League final might make that less likely. These people communicate over social media and decide where they are going to fight – it may have nothing to do with the game itself. Chelsea have an alignment with Rangers and Hearts, often against an element within Hibs and Celtic.
“There are people who are ‘risk supporters’ who do not have banning orders enforced by the court. Despite this, they may be deemed to be the type of person who could commit a misdemeanour at the football. There are at least 50 of these people.”
A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police said there was “nothing to suggest” Chelsea supporters would infiltrate the Scottish Cup final.
But the source added: “We have intelligence that this upcoming game might pose some grief with the bringing of smoke bombs or pyrotechnics into the ground.
“The clubs and police have had more meetings for this fixture than most other fixtures. Usually there might be around two meetings but this time it’s been at least double that.”
Chief Superintendent Gill Imery, divisional commander for Edinburgh, said: “While the vast majority of Hearts and Hibernian fans are only interested in supporting their respective teams during Saturday’s match, a small minority may look to cause disruption and behave in an aggressive or criminal manner.
“A number of people associated with both teams are currently subject to football banning orders and officers from British Transport Police, Lothian and Borders Police and Strathclyde Police will be monitoring the travelling supporters to ensure none of these individuals are able to make their way to the national stadium.”
Cup final song to clock up 100,000 views
With just two days to go until the Hampden clash, the Evening News cup final song Go East is nearing an incredible 100,000 views on YouTube.
The track – a spoof version of Go West by the Pet Shop Boys – was released nine days ago.
The success is equivalent to one view every seven seconds for the past week.
Interest in the video has been huge among Edinburgh and Glasgow football fans but also from Scots overseas.
A huge number of views have come from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as countries in Africa, Asia and South America. The video has been covered in other media including Sky Sports, The Guardian, STV, Real Radio, Forth One and Clyde 1.
Editor Frank O’Donnell said: “The song is a celebration of Edinburgh. It’s something we don’t do enough of in the Capital.”
Call for new Scots law to tackle ticket touts
A SCOTS MEP has called for new laws to combat ticket touts at football matches after Scottish Cup final briefs were reportedly being sold on at up to ten times their face value.
SNP member Alyn Smith today urged the Scottish Parliament to outlaw those profiteering from popular football matches.
Under current legislation, it is illegal to tout tickets in England and Wales, but Mr Smith said regulations in Scotland are much looser.
Mr Smith said: “The huge demand for tickets has seen a black market quickly form, with fans having to fork over ten times the face value if they wish to witness arguably the biggest Edinburgh derby of all time.
“It is clear that the current legislation, which dates back to 1982 and only outlaws touting in a public place, isn’t working. We need a new law which properly takes into account advances such as online sales and auctions.
“Legislation prohibiting the resale of tickets for domestic and international fixtures could quickly stomp out the problem.”
Confident fan gets win tattoo
one Hearts fan is so convinced his team will win the Scottish Cup he has had “Winners 2012” tattooed on his arm.
Derek Thomas from Dalkeith, who got the tattoo after exchanging banter with Dundee fans while on holiday in Benidorm, said: “I’ve a feeling it’s our year. If not I’ll be putting in for overtime to pay for removal surgery.”
Wags kick off preparations
THE clubs’ Wags are getting ready for the big day, with a trim and pamper.
Victoria Parkinson, girlfriend of Hearts ace Ian Black, and Jilly Mills, partner of Hibs full-back Callum Booth, sat next to each other in Cheynes salon as they were treated to a head massage, shampoo and set, with champagne and cupcakes to complete the preparations.
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