Background: There's been trouble brewing in Gorgie

HEARTS are holding an inquiry into the events of Wednesday night in a bid to ensure there is no recurrence of the incident in which a supporter attacked Celtic manager Neil Lennon but there are practical and political limits to the action they can take.

More than 25 years ago, for example, the solution to fan trouble adopted by then club owner Wallace Mercer was to erect a perimeter fence - an action which would almost certainly not be permitted at any football ground in Great Britain today.

Mercer's attempted solution to the problem of incursion on to the pitch by supporters was a common route for British clubs to go down in the early 1980s. But, after the Hillsborough tragedy of 1989 in which 96 Liverpool fans died, the fences came down throughout the country. The potential danger which coaches or players faced from opposition supporters was seen to be outweighed by the need for members of the public to have an escape route from the terraces in such events as overcrowding or fire.

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The trauma of Hillsborough helped ensure that, when the fences did come down, supporters became more self-policing than had been the case. At Tynecastle, as at other grounds, the introduction of seating for all spectators by August 1994 also calmed the atmosphere.

More recently, however, the Gorgie ground has experienced several turbulent occasions. On New Year's Day 2006, for example, at the end of a 3-2 defeat by Celtic, a supporter clambered on to the roof of the away team's dugout and thumped it a couple of times. There was no attempt to get close to then Celtic manager Gordon Strachan but the incident showed that, with the crowd at the front of the main stand being so close to the technical areas, it took no more than seconds for such incidents to take place.

While games against Celtic have been played in a particularly poisonous atmosphere, Edinburgh derbies have, in general, been more turbulent. In May 2009 two Hearts supporters got on to the pitch and one made for Derek Riordan, who had just scored the winning goal for Hibs from the penalty spot near the end of the game.

The supporter fell just before he reached Riordan and seemed to be feigning injury. This prompted the goalscorer to declare after the game that he must have been hit by "Casper the Ghost".

Supporters of other clubs have also been implicated in trouble at Tynecastle. In late 2006. for example, Rangers suspended a supporters' group from matches after a missile was thrown on to the pitch. One fan was also banned from attending all Rangers matches.