4 held in sectarian songs & smoke bombs probe at Celtic game

The scene at Stair Park prior to kick-off. Picture: SNS
The scene at Stair Park prior to kick-off. Picture: SNS
  • Smoke bombs and flares delayed start of Stranraer-Celtic cup tie
  • Four held for football related and public order offences
  • Police probing claims of sectarian singing at match
  • Celtic confirm three fans banned
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Celtic have issued life bans to three supporters involved in the use of flares and firecrackers during Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie at Stranraer.

The club also described the scenes at Stair Park, televised throughout the UK on Sky Sports, as an “embarrassment”.

What was supposed to be an enjoyable event for all was tarnished by a group of individuals who were intent on singing sectarian songs as well as letting off smoke bombs and pyrotechnics

Supt Steven Lowther

Celtic could also face action from the Scottish FA after it emerged that the governing body’s compliance officer Tony McGlennan has reviewed footage of the travelling fans’ conduct before and during the Scottish champions’ 3-0 fourth round victory.

In addition to the use of pyrotechnics, McGlennan is also understood to be reviewing pro-IRA chants and songs heard during the game.

Celtic moved to take their own action as swiftly as possible yesterday and announced they had identified three individuals connected with the use of flares and firecrackers.

“These individuals will be suspended indefinitely from attending Celtic matches and the club’s investigations will continue,” read a Celtic statement.”

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And SFA chief executive Stewart Regan last night revealed the introduction of strict liability is likely to be back on the agenda at the organisation’s annual general meeting later this year and he hopes member clubs will finally come round to supporting measures needed to combat what he described as “life threatening” supporter misconduct.

“It put a stain on what was undoubtedly a great weekend of Scottish Cup football,” said Regan. “It’s idiotic because it’s dangerous and can threaten people’s lives. But we can only work with the rules we’ve got.

“We expected to go down a strict liability route two or three years ago now and that was defeat at the annual general meeting.

“We are about to start the rules revision process for 2016 and, given the events of the weekend and obviously incidents of singing in previous weeks as well, I think it will be back on the agenda. Quite how far it goes will depend on the members and the appetite for change.

“But certainly when you see what has happened at the weekend it makes you realise that we can’t continue accepting this as a matter of course because somebody is going to get injured.

“What I wouldn’t want is for an incident to happen that forces us to change. I’d rather the members themselves recognised that this kind of behaviour is dangerous and we need to try to do something about it.

“When you see the damage some of these flares can do, which the police have shown us, with the intensity of the heat when they come into contact with individuals – they are really, really life threatening. We can’t just stand back and allow it to go on. We need a grown-up conversation and we need to do something about it.”

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The statement from Celtic added: “Yesterday’s events have again caused embarrassment to Celtic and our supporters.

“On numerous occasions Celtic has stated its strong opposition to the use of pyrotechnics but regrettably again, a very small number of individuals, within a ticket allocation of 2,500, have damaged the club.

“We should be very clear. Those responsible simply do not care about our club, our reputation or the safety of our fans and we do not want them at our matches. The club will be reviewing its ticket allocation procedures to ensure that this matter is addressed.

“Ensuring the safety of our supporters and staff is always of paramount importance to Celtic Football Club.

“If such behaviour was to continue, the reality is it would only be a matter of time before serious injury is caused. However, we will not allow safety to be compromised by the actions of a tiny minority.

“We have been inundated again by our supporters following yesterday’s events and those fans can rest assured that this issue will be dealt with in the strongest terms.

“We cannot and will not allow this minority to destroy the magnificent reputation which our fans have earned over many years.

Police Scotland made four arrests. The men, two aged 23, one aged 25 and a 44-year-old, were arrested for a number of football related and public order offences.

Police are also making further investigations into the use of pyrotechnics and alleged sectarian singing.


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