Scott Sinclair ‘could have died’ if bottle thrown during Hibs-Celtic game had hit winger

Referee Wiillie Collum removes the bottle thrown towards Scott Sinclair at Easter Road. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Referee Wiillie Collum removes the bottle thrown towards Scott Sinclair at Easter Road. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
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Former Hibs manager Alan Stubbs believes Celtic winger Scott Sinclair’s life was threatened by the bottle thrown at him during last Saturday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final at Easter Road.

Stubbs described the incident as a “tipping point” and said the issue of crowd disorder at Scottish football had to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

He wants police and authorities to do more to help the game weed out those guilty of such offences, saying a “precedent has to be set in terms of punishment”.

“You see coins and plastic bottles being chucked but to actually witness a glass bottle launched at a player…if that catches Scott Sinclair anywhere around the head area it could have fractured his skull,” said Stubbs.

“It could have ended his career, or worse – you regularly see people dying after they’ve fallen over and banged their head. Catching someone on the temple with a bottle could inflict brain damage.

“When you get to that stage then surely enough is enough. There has to be a tipping point which I think we are literally at it now.

“Those responsible can’t be thinking about the consequences. That’s why a precedent has to be set in terms of the punishment. 
“Scottish football is in a good place at the moment but it seems that every week we’re talking about what’s happened in the stands rather than on the pitch.

“The thugs are getting away with it so they’ll keep on doing it until there’s a proper deterrent. There has to be some kind of emergency meeting to sort this out. 
“Otherwise, another talking point will come up next week and this problem will be swept under the carpet. It has to be stamped out now.

“It’s difficult to say that it’s solely down to the clubs but fan representatives should be speaking to all of their supporters’ clubs. But is there enough stewarding inside the grounds? “
Is there a big enough police element and, if not, is that down to cost? In England there seems to be more stewards and fewer policemen at games.

“I feel sorry for the stewards because they’re paid a pittance – plus a free ticket – and they’re then asked to stand in front of these people and to try and stop them doing something wrong. “
That’s why a bigger police presence could be a factor in cutting this out. You can’t expect fans to self-police these things.

“If you’re a dad at a game with your kid, are you going to confront someone – who might be a hard nut – who’s throwing stuff? 
“There’s no way you’re going to expose your children to someone turning round and hitting you because then it turns into a mass brawl; it’s impossible.”