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Monday, May 3, 1999 Published at 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK


Old Firm violence inquiry begins

Referee Hugh Dallas needed medical attention

The Scottish Football Association has launched an urgent inquiry into the violence at Sunday's Old Firm premier league title decider in Glasgow.


Rob McLean: "The match boiled over"
A total of 113 people were arrested, mainly for drink-related offences, as trouble flared following Rangers' 3-0 win over Celtic at Parkhead. The win gave Rangers their 10th league title in 11 seasons.

Referee Hugh Dallas needed stitches in a head wound after he was hit by an object thrown from the terraces. In other incidents, a steward was carried away on a stretcher and a Celtic fan was hurt when he fell from the upper tier of a stand.


Roddy Forsythe: "The world saw a game of disgrace"
There was trouble among the players too. Celtic's Stephane Mahe and Vidar Riseth and Rangers' Rod Wallace were sent off and several others were booked.

Neil McCann, who scored two of Rangers goals during the game, admitted that he had been scared. "It was quite frightening," said the 24-year-old Scotland winger. "After all it's just two sets of players, playing a game."

Huddle mimicked

After the victory Rangers players were pelted with missiles, although they had earlier been seen mimicking the huddle used by the Celtic team as part of their match preparations.


[ image: The players' conduct is to be examined]
The players' conduct is to be examined
Outside the ground, a man was stabbed near the Celtic Park ground and a number of people were injured.

Strathclyde Police said windows in Mr Dallas's home in Lanarkshire were smashed after the game.

Scottish Sports Minister Sam Galbraith said: "I will be asking both the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football Association for a full report on events and I expect a rapid response."

SFA spokesman Andy Mitchell said the association's security adviser Willie McDougall would report as a matter of urgency.

The two sides meet again on Sunday 30 May in the Scottish Cup final with Mr Dallas taking charge again.


SFA spokesman Andy Mitchell: "We are concerned that our reputation could be damaged"
Mr Mitchell said: "Discussions have already taken place regarding security arrangements for the Tennents Scottish Cup final between the SFA, both clubs and police.

"That planning process will continue, obviously taking into account any lessons that can be learned from Sunday night's events. The cup final is a showpiece event and every effort will be made to ensure it stays that way."

Players' conduct examined

The Scottish Premier League said it would also be launching an investigation and will meet the Association of Chief Police Officers later this week.

"In addition, we will be examining the conduct of players both during and after the match," a spokesman said.

"Consideration will also be given to the possibility of moving the last Old Firm game of the season to earlier in the year to minimise the chances of the tension and emotion which spilled over last night being repeated."

Life bans

Four Celtic fans who ran onto the pitch have been banned for life from Parkhead.


Celtic spokesman Peter McLean: "The supporters who ran onto the pitch will be banned"
Club spokesman Peter McLean said: "The majority of people did behave themselves. It was a minority, a poisonous minority, that reflect badly on the rest of the people."

As part of their own inquiry, Celtic will be studying film from closed-circuit television cameras in an attempt to identify troublemakers.

Rangers Vice-Chairman Donald Findlay said: "We condemn violence in any form.


Rangers Vice-Chairman Donald Findlay: "We condemn violence"
"Along with the authorities we will sit down calmly and look if there is anything ourselves or Celtic can do, not just for the cup final, but for the future.

Mr Findlay said the timing of evening football matches should be reconsidered because they allowed too much drinking time before kick-offs.

Mark Dingwall, who edits the Rangers fanzine Follow, Follow, said for Celtic, "the chickens are coming home to roost".


Mark Dingwall: "Celtic should not be surprised"
"It was only two seasons ago that Tommy Burns (the then Celtic manager), when asked if there was a conspiracy against Celtic by referees, he replied: 'Maybe'.

"I don't think Celtic in their publications whether it's the programme, the Celtic View, can continuously pressurise referees and claim there's a conspiracy then be surprised that some of their fans get a wee bit carried away."

TV kick-off controversy

One of the main points sure to be studied by any inquiry is the late kick-off demanded by television station Sky.


Rangers manager Dick Advocaat: "We deserved to win"
This season the company has timed Scottish live matches for the benefit of armchair fans, broadcasting them directly after English Premiership coverage.

On Sunday, many fans had been drinking for a large part of the day before going to Parkhead for the 1805 start.

Scottish police had previously warned about drunkenness in grounds, and supporters have also complained about the lack of public transport.

Kick-offs on the final day of the season, Sunday 23 May, have already been moved to 1230 BST in answer to those warnings.



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