Hibs fan ‘overtaken by emotion’ fined for pitch invasion

A Hibs supporter who jumped out of the stand and ran across the penalty box to celebrate with players has been fined £500.

Wednesday, 17th April 2019, 4:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th April 2019, 4:30 pm
Hibernian's Mark Milligan celebrates with scorer Marc McNulty after making it 2-1 against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park. Picture: TSPL

Oliver Bridgland, 25, barged past stewards after Hibs scored a late winning goal against St Johnstone.

He escaped a football banning order after giving the court an undertaking he would not go to any Hibs match for the rest of this season.

Sheriff Gillian Wade told Bridgland, from Scone: “This behaviour is extremely unimpressive. You behave in a foolish and irresponsible way and it will have consequences for you as you now have a criminal conviction.

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“It was totally unnecessary and spoiled the occasion for you and others who were trying to deal with your ridiculous behaviour.

“You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. I take into account that you have no previous convictions.

“I am not satisfied that the quite draconian measure of a football banning order is required.”

The Hibs supporter’s pitch invasion was broadcast on live television as he charged towards a group of players in the 84th minute.

Bridgland admitted breaching the peace during the St Johnstone v Hibs match at McDiarmid Park in Perth on February 27 this year.

He admitted running from his seat, climbing over the perimeter wall, forcing his way past stewards, running across the pitch and standing with the players.

Fiscal depute Matthew Kerr told Perth Sheriff Court that there were 3,600 fans at the match, with 1,600 Hibs fans housed in the North Stand behind a goal.

Mr Kerr said: “With five minutes remaining in the game, Hibs scored a goal. He ran onto the playing surface, past numerous St Johnstone players with his arms in the air and his fists clenched.

“He ran through the penalty box, from one side to the other, to join in with the celebrating Hibs players. Police feared copycat action by other supporters, so they removed the accused from the pitch.”

Solicitor John McLaughlin, defending, said: “No-one would have known when he entered the pitch what his intentions were. He was embracing and being embraced by the players.

“He has acted in an exceptionally stupid and irresponsible manner. He is genuine in his remorse and appreciates a moment of exuberation can have far reaching consequences. He was effectively overtaken by emotion.

“He has no intention of attending any more games this season and would give the court an undertaking to that effect.”

Bridgland admitted shoving his way past stewards and entering the field of play when Scotland player Marc McNulty scored to put Hibs 2-1 ahead with five minutes to play.

During the BT Sport TV coverage, Bridgland could then be seen careering across the pitch to join the celebrating Hibs players in a group huddle.

Sheriff Wade rejected the Crown’s motion for a football banning order and said: “He got carried away with the whole situation.”

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