Tartan Army warned by Israeli police to leave kilt pins at home

Scottish football fans have been warned not to take kilt pins or raise their traditional dress when they travel to Israel to watch their national team play next month.

Scotland fans have been warned they could face arrest if they raise their kilts or carry kilt pins when they travel to Israel next month. Picture: Neil Hanna

The Tartan Army has been told that anyone flashing or taking a list of banned items, including kilt pins, will face arrest by the Israeli police.

The warning was included in advice issued by the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) ahead of the match on 11 October at the Sammy Ofer Stadium, Haifa.

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It also warned Scots fans that anyone who appeared drunk would not be allowed into the 30,000-capacity stadium.

It said: “The list of banned items includes alcohol, glass, bottles, cans, firecrackers, sunflower seeds, knives or sharp objects, including kilt pins.

“Indecent exposure is a criminal offence and the police may stop or detain anybody who raises their kilt.

“The stadium is covered by a CCTV system and fans will be monitored at all times.”

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Alcohol is banned at matches in Israel and is not sold on site.

The FCO advice added: “Fans who appear drunk and not in control of their own actions will not be permitted entry in the stadium by police.

“Smoking is prohibited at the stadium apart from in designated smoking areas.”

Hamish Husband, spokesman for the West of Scotland Tartan Army, said fans were generally wise enough to leave their sgian-dubhs at home.

He added: “I’ve never heard of an issue with kilt pins before.

“Sometimes at immigration or airport security it is queried, but they look it up and find it is national dress.

“Last time we were in Israel for a competitive game was in 1981, but there weren’t so many people wearing the kilt back then.”

Craig Halley, director of Slanj Kilts, said: “The most damage you can probably do with one is to pick a lock.

“I can’t imagine members of the Tartan Army wanting to harm anyone with one.”

Mr Husband said most fans were just interested in taking in some of the religious sites in Israel, as well as attending the match.

He added: “The most dangerous thing Scotland fans take is misplaced hope.

“I expect the fans will be very mindful of the country and if they are asked to leave their kilt pins outside I’m sure they’ll follow that.”