‘Unacceptable’ fan behaviour ‘must be addressed with the greatest of urgency’

The Scottish football players’ association has called for the authorities to act quickly to help stop the rising number of “unacceptable” incidents where fans have either abused or tried to assault players.

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Celtic to pay Hibs for damaged seats in away end at Easter Road - reports

This comes after Saturday’s match at Easter Road where Celtic winger Scott Sinclair had an empty Buckfast bottle thrown at him.

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Hibs also reported that objects were hurled from the away end during the match.

Referee Willie Collum removes a bottle from the pitch during the Hibs v Celtic Scottish Cup clash at Easter Road. Picture: PA

PFA Scotland have condemned the behaviour and demanded a crackdown in order to help protect the players.

Chief executive Fraser Wishart said in a statement: “After this weekend’s incidents at Easter Road, we stress again that the throwing of objects at players, violence or any form of verbal abuse directed towards players must be taken seriously and we trust that the authorities will take the appropriate action to ensure that this dangerous practice is stopped.

“The continuing rise in incidents of this nature at football grounds across the country is alarming and must be addressed with the greatest of urgency. On the field, our members have been subjected to racist and sectarian abuse, physically assaulted and had coins and now a bottle thrown at them. Any form of abuse – physical or verbal – is wholly unacceptable and it is of paramount importance that something is done before someone is seriously hurt or maimed.

“The football pitch is a player’s place of work and it is not unreasonable for a player, like any other employee, to be able to work with the knowledge that their workplace is indeed a safe environment, free from violence and discrimination and that their health and safety is not at risk.

“We refer back again to the survey we conducted amongst our members in 2016 as part of a worldwide survey for the World Players Union FIFPro. Worryingly, 35 per cent of those players surveyed said they had been threatened by fans (34 per cent on a match day).”