BY Ian Dunn | April 5 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Sectarianism bigger than an Old Firm fixture

Leading expert on bigotry warns Scotland’s football authorities after Edinburgh derby

A leading expert on sectarianism has warned Scotland’s football authorities that measures to tackle bigotry should not just focus on the Old Firm, after describing the behaviour of fans at the Edinburgh derby last weekend. as ‘completely unacceptable.’

Dr John Kelly (above left), a specialist in sport and sectarianism at Edinburgh University, said he could clearly hear the singing of offensive chants by both Hibs and Hearts supporters during the match at Easter Road.

“The latest Hibs-Hearts derby at Easter Road exposed the bigoted, intolerant and inflammatory behaviour of some Edinburgh fans that seems to have escaped scrutiny from the police and media alike,” Dr Kelly said. “Tackling ethno-religious bigotry requires all guilty parties are held culpable if genuine solutions are to be found.”

A total of 10 fans were thrown out of the stadium for ‘unruly behaviour’ by police or stewards, with a further three arrested for alleged drunkenness and encroaching on to the pitch. These figures compared to six arrests at the recent Old Firm cup final and 34 at the previous Celtic-Rangers encounter at Parkhead that triggered a Scottish Government investigation into bigotry and violence problems in the game.

The Edinburgh derby trouble flared just days after Richie Towell (above right), on loan at Hibs from Celtic, said he had met more hostility at Tynecastle than at Ibrox as an Irish Catholic.

“When you go to Ibrox you realise how big the Old Firm rivalry is, but even when we went to play against Hearts you could see how their fans are and how they react to Celtic players,” Mr Towell, a 19-year-old from Dublin said. “Especially as I’m an Irish boy, and a Catholic as well. I think they’ll take it out a bit more on me, so I’ll have to be on my guard against that.”

Leave a Reply

latest news

Our Lady of Guadalupe relic image to go on display at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow

October 9th, 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

A relic image of Our Lady of Guadalupe will come...

Midwife receives a standing ovation at SPUC conference

October 9th, 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Glasgow Catholic midwife Mary Duggan received a standing ovation at...

Greater trust in the synod process

October 8th, 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

One of the four synod presidents speaks of a more...

Cardinal Nichols speaks up at synod for refugee families

October 8th, 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said the Synod on the Family...

Social media

Latest edition


exclusively in the paper

  • SCO EXCLUSIVE: Bishop John Keenan of Paisley says the World Meeting of Families was an eye opener.
  • Cross-party group on religious freedom set up in the Scottish Parliament with the help of Aid to the Church in Need.
  • Strong support at National Assembly of Catholic School Parents.
  • Permanent deacon ordained for Dunkeld Diocese at vocations Mass.
  • Fr James Crampsey SJ, Superior of the Jesuit community at Sacred Heart in Edinburgh, gave this year’s Gillis Lecture

Previous editions

Previous editions of the Scottish Catholic Observer newspaper are only available to subscribed Members. To download previous editions of the paper, please subscribe.

note: registered members only.

Read the SCO