Ann Budge takes hardline stance on Hearts-Hibs derby disorder - 'I think it might be the worst'

Unsavoury incidents during last month’s derby spur chairperson on to take action

Hearts chairperson Ann Budge has stressed that both Edinburgh clubs cannot wait for an even more serious incident to occur after the latest derby was marred by crowd trouble.

Missiles were thrown from several areas of the ground during the frenetic 1-1 draw between Hearts and Hibs at Tynecastle at the end of last month.

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An incident where a pie was plucked from the sky by Lawrence Shankland, whereupon the striker then took a bite out of it, received most of the attention. The striker has just scored Hearts' equaliser from the penalty spot. But other potentially more dangerous items were recovered from the pitch, including a bladed bottle opener.

Hearts' Lawrence Shankland takes a bite of a pie that was thrown at him during the last Edinburgh derby.Hearts' Lawrence Shankland takes a bite of a pie that was thrown at him during the last Edinburgh derby.
Hearts' Lawrence Shankland takes a bite of a pie that was thrown at him during the last Edinburgh derby.

Budge addressed the prospect of away fans being banned from the fixture. “Nobody wants that,” she said. “But equally we cannot just sit back and wait for a bad incident. Both clubs work together very well in lots of areas. We both have to really take it seriously because it really isn’t just one club. As we all know there is a small minority who do these things and it is not the majority, so we just have to get our act together as two clubs and work together, and if something happens like that do everything we can to identify who the individuals were and being very firm about it.”

The presence of over 3,000 visiting fans is currently setting the derby apart from its top-flight Glasgow equivalent. The atmosphere was praised by some commentators for its partisan qualities. Budge, who was on holiday but watched the game on television, described the scenes as the worst she can remember during her near-ten years at Hearts. She stressed the need for both clubs to work together to eradicate the problem.

“It is not the first time in my last ten years that this has come up but it might be the worst I think,” she said. “One thing we can definitely do is make sure we identify the perpetrators if we can. We all have expensive CCTV kit so really following through on that and demonstrating to people that sorry that really is not acceptable and no, you won’t be allowed back.

"So being firm is important. I don’t know how we stop it all getting in because you can’t strip search 18,000 or 19,000 people. It is not one set of fans and not the other,” she added. “I was watching the game even though I was not here, and I know comments were made about Hearts fans throwing things as well and it is true. We have to work together. We have the same problem. Nobody wants it.”

If Hibs finish in the top six before the Premiership splits in mid-April, then there will be one more league derby in the 2023/24 campaign, which is likely to take place at Easter Road.