No trouble at police-free Scotland v Estonia game

LAST night’s trouble free game at Aberdeen’s Pittodrie stadium between Scotland and Estonia made history as the first modern international match in Scotland to go ahead without a police presence inside the ground, it was revealed today.

The Dons match against St Mirren at Pittodrie in May 2011, was the first Scottish Premier League match to be held without the presence of any on-duty police officers.

And Grampian Police today confirmed that, for the first time at international level, there had been no police officers on duty inside the stadium at the match which Scotland won 1-0 under new manager Gordon Strachan

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Chief Superintendent Adrian Watson, the Aberdeen City Division’s Police Commander praised Tartan Army fans after confirming the match last night had passed without incident.

He said: “Scotland’s fans have a history of good natured behaviour at football matches and the Tartan Army can quite rightly be proud of the fact that this game went ahead without the need for police officers inside the stadium.”

Chief Superintendent Watson continued: “We will not compromise on safety and each game is the subject of a rigorous risk assessment with our partners. We have got to a stage where Pittodrie is one of the safest match day experiences in top flight football. Much of the credit has to go to the club, our other footballing partners, including in this case the SFA and of course the supporters themselves who have acted so responsibly, allowing us to free up officers to be returned to the heart of our communities where it matters.”

He added: “We are acutely aware of the importance of the club to the city and the north-east of Scotland and we will continue to do all we can to support it.”

John Morgan, Security Officer for Aberdeen FC said: “We were delighted to host the first police-free international football match in Scotland and that the fixture passed without any major incident. Safety at Pittodrie will always be of the highest importance to ourselves and we will continue to work with Grampian Police and our other partners to build on this success in the future.”

David Brand, the Scottish FA’s Head of Security and Integrity, also praised the Tartan Army for their “impeccable behaviour” inside and outside the ground.

“On behalf of the Scotland National Team and the Scottish FA I would like to thank the fans for their exemplary behaviour throughout the day and, especially, inside Pittodrie during the match,” he said.

Mr Brand continued: “Not only is this the first police-free international match in Scotland but it is also the biggest-attended game where there has been no police presence. It is a tribute to the excellent reputation of the Scotland supporters that Grampian Police, in conjunction with Aberdeen FC, felt confident enough to take the concept of police-free matches to this new level.

“There were no ejections during the match, no arrests before or during the game and only a small amount of alcohol confiscated outside.

“It is important that we work together to enhance the responsibilities around match-day to the club or international safety teams and to the stadium security staff, who operate with an increasingly sophisticated stewarding plan.

“Last night’s game was a fantastic spectacle but also a safe environment for more than 16,000 supporters to enjoy themselves.”