EAST Stirlingshire head coach John Coughlin said last night that he substituted Jordan Tapping in yesterday’s 4-0 defeat by Peterhead at Balmoor after the 17-year-old schoolboy was reduced to tears by a sustained level of racial abuse from a section of the crowd.
Coughlin claimed the youngster was subjected to monkey noises and name calling from members of the home support situated behind the goal that Tapping was helping to defend in the second half.
Tapping, the cousin of Hearts midfielder Callum Tapping, scored an own goal in the League Two match and was taken off with 15 minutes remaining.
Coughlin said: “Firstly I want to say that what went on had no impact on the result of the game but it was a horrible incident. It was so bad that a couple of our players went to the referee to make sure that he was hearing it.
“He took no action at the time but he is including it in his match report. Jordan is just a kid who is still at school and was understandably upset and bewildered at what was getting shouted at him. I looked at him with about 20 minutes left and knew I had to get him off the pitch. By the time I did he was in tears. Whilst no one should have to deal with abuse, a more experienced player or person might have been able to handle it differently but in reality it is not Jordan’s problem.”
Referee Gavin Duncan is expected to report the matter to the SFA.
Coughlin added: “The Peterhead chairman Rodger Morrison came up and apologised to Jordan after the game. Whilst he acknowledged there had been a problem, no one can quite understand why no stewards were asked to go and get the fans doing it to stop, or even more appropriately, throw them out or get them arrested.
“Our players were very upset for Jordan and there was a lot of anger in our dressing room afterwards. They are all very much behind raising this incident as far as possible to show their support to their team-mate.” Tapping, pictured, was applauded off the pitch by his team-mates.
One supporter who was at the game said: “The ref stopped the game in the second half and spoke to the linesman. Then he seemed to call the head steward or someone like that. It was good couple of minutes he was speaking to the steward. The steward went over and spoke to someone behind the goal. It was just a single guy that they seemed to be speaking to. When [Tapping] went off, all the other East Stirling players were applauding him off the park.”
As of last night, the Scottish Professional Football League had received no complaint.