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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2007, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Man admits Rangers match protest
Sean Gallagher
Sean Gallagher will be sentenced in Glasgow next month
A man has admitted carrying out a sectarian protest that brought a Rangers European match to a halt.

Sean Gallagher, 21, from Glasgow, ran across the Ibrox pitch in November 2006 draped in a Palestinian flag and wearing a Pope T-shirt.

He was dragged away by police as he tried to handcuff himself to a goalpost before launching abuse at Rangers fans.

At the city's sheriff court Gallagher admitted a sectarian breach of the peace. He will be sentenced next month.

The protest came during Rangers' UEFA Cup clash with Israeli side Maccabi Haifa.

The game was being transmitted by the BBC to millions of viewers across the country.

Gallagher could face jail when he returns to the court on 14 June after a social inquiry report is carried out.

He ran from the left enclosure and was clearly draped in a Palestinian flag
Fiscal John Bedford

He may also have to pay the 4,000 fine that Rangers were handed from UEFA for the protest.

Midway through the second-half, Gallagher jumped out of the 45,000-strong crowd and got onto the pitch.

Fiscal John Bedford, prosecuting, told the court: "He ran from the left enclosure and was clearly draped in a Palestinian flag.

"He was also wearing a T-shirt showing Pope Benedict and made his way towards the 150 Maccabi fans.

"Gallagher was chased the full length of the pitch and this had a knock on effect in that the game had to be halted."

He managed to get to the goal at the Broomloan Road end where he tried to cuff himself to a post.

Police and security guards
Police and security struggled with the man

Police officers and stewards struggled with him before finally getting him off the pitch.

Gallagher then repeatedly chanted "Tiocfaidh Ar La", meaning "Our Day Will Come" - the unofficial slogan of the IRA - at nearby Rangers fans, who became "extremely annoyed" and had to be restrained.

The game was eventually restarted after a four-minute delay.

Mr Bedford added the club is now looking for the former hospital worker to compensate them.

Gallagher was also originally charged with racial aggravation, but prosecutors removed this to allow for a guilty plea.

Ross Yuill, defending, said Gallagher had been forced to move from his home in the city's Woodlands due to death threats.

Mr Yuill added that Gallagher had asked for his new address not to be revealed in open court.

Sheriff Fiona Tait deferred sentencing until next month due to the "public order consequences" of what Gallagher had done.

The then Rangers boss Paul le Guen described the protest as disrespectful.


SEE ALSO
Football game protester in court
03 Nov 06 |  Glasgow and West
Middle East protest disrupts game
02 Nov 06 |  Glasgow and West

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