Anger as 'tragic' Jambo tale revealed as hoax

TO hundreds of Hearts fans, he was one of the most colourful characters among the Tynecastle faithful.

Creag Macallanniach - better known by his fans' website username IrvineJambo - led an amazing life before his untimely death from cancer at the age of 30.

A boxing champion and self-made millionaire, he had married a Bollywood star and obtained no less than four university degrees.

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His tragic death prompted a rush of donations from fans of both Hearts and Hibs, as well as members of the Tartan Army, to Creag's favourite charities.

The sad news was also relayed to fans at Tynecastle during half-time at one game.

But Creag is causing a stir again a year after his death - after it emerged he never existed.

A Tynecastle season ticket holder - who had claimed to be Creag's nephew - has made a public apology, confessing to having invented his "uncle" and posed as him on the forum Jambos Kickback.

The hoaxer, who posts under the name Craig (WoSH), blamed his behaviour on a cancer scare which he said left him depressed and fearing he would die.

Craig(WoSH) is said to be Irvine-based Craig Allan, a 22-year-old bank worker and prominent member of the West of Scotland Hearts supporters' club.

In his confession on the website, Mr Allan said: "After speaking with my mother, I have been told to write this as I was trying to ignore it and hoping it would go away. I went into a shell, and began to lead my life online, create an online personality to escape reality.

"This part of my life is one I wanted to forget, and unfortunately it is coming back to haunt me, and is now going to ruin my life again. I won't be back at Tynecastle or Hampden for the foreseeable future."

Speaking about his decision to create the character, Mr Allan said: "I was just being a stupid wee boy at the time. I hope it hasn't hurt anyone and it has definitely done me a lot of damage. I wish the whole thing hadn't happened."

IrvineJambo had been a regular figure on the website for around a year before his "death".

The details of IrvineJambo's colourful life were revealed in a series of postings online.

After Mr Allan announced his passing, Hearts and Hibs fans donated more than 250 to the Everyman cancer charity and a guide dog charity. One Hibs fan even took part in a sponsored parachute jump in his memory.

However, fans became suspicious as they began to realise no-one had ever met IrvineJambo, despite his apparent high profile.

Mr Allan confessed after one fan promised to check death records and another threatened to call in the police. The hoax has angered many fans despite the apology.

Steven Kilgour, a member of the Federation of Hearts Supporters Clubs, said: "It is morally disgusting, and doesn't really matter if it's about football or not.

"The whole thing makes me quite sick and it undermines the genuine tributes to real Hearts fans who have died."

One regular poster on the site, who uses the name Coppercrutch, added: "I think a lot of guys are pretty annoyed at this, especially the ones who lost money."

Former administrator of Jambos Kickback, Scott Western, established the memorial fund for IrvineJambo. He said: "This is a very delicate and difficult situation. I am determined to establish that nothing untoward has occurred and take whatever action may be necessary if the charity payments cannot be traced."

The current director of Jambos Kickback Pete Lindsell, as well as the charities Guide Dogs and Everyman, declined to comment.