Steven Gerrard has expressed his fear that someone is going to get “extremely hurt” before thugs stop throwing objects onto football pitches.
Footage of Friday night’s league match showed Rangers player Borna Barisic being bombarded with items from the stands while he lay on the turf injured. They included a glass bottle and comes after previous flashpoints at the Easter Road ground, where Celtic’s Scott Sinclair was also targeted by a bottle and Rangers captain James Tavernier was confronted by a fan in the same area of the ground.
The Leith club installed state of the art CCTV in a bid to ward of the shameful behaviour but it did not prevent Friday night’s actions.
It will allow them to clearly identify those who let the club down, though, and Gerrard said that he hopes there will be strong action taken to deter others.
“They need to carry the actions out. Look, across the board we don’t want to see that type of behaviour from the supporters. With all due respect, it is Jack Ross and Hibs’s problem. It is disappointing to see, though, when all we ask is safety of the players and safety of everyone that comes to the stadium. That is all we ask for.
“It is going to take someone to get extremely hurt before it stops, I think.”
Tempers flared in the wake of Ryan Porteous wild challenge on Barisic, which saw the Hibs defender receive a red card and provoked a rammy in the technical areas as Hibs assistant manager Jon Potter and Rangers’ technical coach Tom Culshaw were both sent to the stand. But, in the midst of it all, Gerrard praised his own players’ discipline.
“We knew because of what happened here last year. We spoke to the players about not just playing well but also showing discipline in their behaviour and I am really pleased and proud of how they handled themselves. In football terms but also when there is lighters and bottles going over your head which is a very dangerous situation. I was really pleased that my players they kept their cool.”
Hibs issued a statement which stated that they would be studying the security footage and working to identify the culprits.
We are naturally disappointed at the actions of a few, particularly as we appealed for supporters to behave responsibly on the eve of the game.
"We invested significantly in enhanced CCTV systems and we’ll review footage from all of the sections concerned to identify any individual involved in unacceptable conduct.”