Scottish Government to crack down on football thugs if ‘no meaningful action’ taken by clubs
Football clubs will be hit with the full weight of the Scottish Government if they do not sort out thuggish fan behaviour which has marred the game this season.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf warned that politicians were already exploring options after another weekend of shame that saw smoke bombs detonated and objects including a coconut hurled by supporters.
He said: “I want clubs to show me what action they will take to kick it out the game. If no meaningful action is taken then we will act. Options are already being explored.”
Mr Yousaf issued the threat as a Hibs fan who clambered from the Easter Road stand and kicked the football away from Rangers’ captain, James Tavernier, leading to a confrontation between them, was jailed for 100 days and banned from all football matches for ten years.
Thug Cameron Mack, 22, from Port Seton, had earlier pled guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to a breach of the peace at the March match.
Defence solicitor Eddie Wilson told Sheriff Adrian Cottam that Mack had been so drunk he could not recall details of the incident which was captured live by television cameras.
The lawyer said Mack had been drinking before the match, continuing: “He told me that when he hit the fresh air he became intoxicated and remembers little or nothing about this incident”.
Mr Wilson added that Mack had since received death threats and had to flee his home. He has apologised to Tavernier and both football clubs and accepted that his actions could have led to widespread disturbances in the stadium. He added that his client had no previous convictions of any kind and was assessed as being at low risk of re-offending.
Sheriff Cottam told Mack he fully appreciated the reaction the incident had caused and he had to consider the protection of the public. He jailed Mack and issued the stadium ban after describing the incident as part of widening disorder in Scottish football.
Tavernier was also targeted by thugs during Sunday’s Premiership match against Motherwell and it later emerged that a lighter had been thrown at him from the home support at Fir Park.
Meanwhile, Hibs midfielder Marvin Bartley took to Twitter to call for an end to racism.
A video posted on social media of Bartley warming up at Tynecastle Park was littered with racial slurs.
Bartley wrote: “The one thing that I refuse to accept is racial abuse. So maybe it is time to take action against these small minded, ignorant people. Let’s not let it creep back into our game.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Officers in Edinburgh are investigating following a report of a hate crime at Tynecastle Stadium.
“The incident happened on Saturday and was reported to police on Monday.”
In the aftermath of the Capital match, a 19-year-old has been arrested in connection with throwing a flare, a 16-year-old in connection with throwing a coin and a 38-year-old in connection with using racist language. All three have been charged.