A THUG Hearts fan who left a pensioner covered in blood after throwing a bottle into a crowd of battling football fans has been ordered to pay his victim compensation.
Stephen Mitchell, 27, launched the beer bottle as Hearts and Celtic fans clashed outside Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh before last year’s Betfred League Cup semi-final.
The bottle missed its intended target and instead smashed into the head of innocent bystander Caroline Cooper leaving the 71-year-old Hearts fan with a nasty head injury.
Mobile phone footage of the horror attack on the OAP was widely circulated on social media in the days following the match and cowardly Mitchell was eventually traced and arrested by police.
Mitchell had previously admitted culpably and recklessly throwing a bottle into a crowd where Mrs Cooper was struck on the head to her injury and he returned to the dock at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday for sentencing.
'Ashamed and Regretful'
Sheriff Donald Corke said the attack had “serious consequences” for Mrs Cooper and ordered Mitchell, of Ratho, to pay the woman £2,500 in compensation.
Stephen Knowles, defending solicitor, said his client was “a man with a strong work ethic” and that he and his long term partner were expecting their first child.
Mr Knowles added Mitchell was “ashamed and regretful” over his actions and that he would like to “publicly apologise to the complainer Mrs Cooper and her extended family”.
In sentencing, Sheriff Corke said: “Your reckless conduct of throwing a bottle into a crowd had serious consequences for a 71-year-old woman.
“But given the nature of the report what I am going to do is deal with this by a compensation order.”
'Shame on You'
Victim Mrs Cooper is the mother of Hearts employee Clare Cowan who was forced to rush her parent to hospital with a cut to her head following the bottle attack.
At the time Ms Cowan, who is the Tynecastle club’s Admin and Projects manager, took to Twitter to condemn the thug.
She posted: “To the so-called Hearts fan that thought it was a good idea to throw a full bottle of bud at a bus of Celtic fans today outside Sainsbury’s car park.
“I’m now sitting in A&E with my 70-year-old mum as that bottle hit her on the side of the face.
“Shame on you, your parents must be so proud of the a******* you are.”
Fans and ex-players were also quick to express their horror at the pensioner being bottled outside the ground.
One Jambo fan said: “Awful Clare. Hope she will be OK and not too shaken. No place for that at our club.”
Another Hearts supporter said: “Sorry to hear this Clare. I don’t go to many away games with Hearts these days so I was disappointed at the sheer number of a******** who’d crawled out from under their rocks.”
While former Hearts star Danny Grainger added: “Sorry to hear this Clare. Hope she is ok. Please send my love.”
Mitchell admitted culpably and recklessly throwing a bottle into a crowd where Mrs Cooper was struck on the head to her injury at Westfield Road, Edinburgh, on October 28 last year.
The semi-final clash between Hearts and Celtic at BT Murrayfield Stadium saw the Hoops run out 3-0 winners in front of 61,161 supporters.
Celtic then went on to defeat Aberdeen 1-0 in the final at Hampden Park.