Dundee Football Club manager James McPake has been cleared of making homophobic remarks to two Dundee United-supporting students in a city pub.
A sheriff found McPake, 36, not guilty of abusing Drew Rumgay and Owen Kane, both 19, on October 6 2019 at The Braes, Perth Road.
Forfar Athletic player Gary Irvine, 35, was today fined £250 after he admitted headbutting one of the men during the same incident.
McPake stood trial in connection with the allegation where it was claimed that the Dark Blues boss called the men “fairy p*******.”
Dundee Sheriff Court heard claims that Mr Rumgay and Mr Kane had made jibes to McPake about Dundee’s 6-2 defeats at the hands of Dundee United as well as calling him a “cripple”.
This was in reference to the knee injury which ended McPake’s playing career.
When giving evidence, McPake said he, Irvine, Dundee kit coordinator Lorraine Noble and others were on a night out following a testimonial match against Lochee United.
McPake said he believed he was being filmed or photographed by Mr Rumgay and Mr Kane on a mobile phone.
“It went on and off throughout the night,” McPake told the court.
“Lorraine went over and had a chat and they said that they weren’t taking any pictures and weren’t going to do it again.
“I have had this before throughout my career. Lorraine spoke to them again about it as we were leaving.”
McPake added: “They were watching me as we went out the door. I said to them ‘what kind of way is that to spend a night? Taking pictures or having a go at people.’
“One of them said ‘**** off ya cripple’ and I said ‘that’s original, I’ve never heard that before. You’s are a pair of *******.’
“I’m not happy I said that but I said it.”
Fiscal depute Sue Ruta suggested to McPake that he was angry during the incident and was lying about his evidence.
She said: “I would suggest it’s you who is not telling the truth about what you said that evening. You have made a comment that you regret.”
McPake replied: “I have made a comment that I regret but it wasn’t the comment you are referring to.”
In earlier evidence, the court heard from Mr Rumgay, an architecture student, who claimed that he alerted psychology student Mr Kane to the fact that McPake was sitting nearby in the bar.
He claimed that Mr Kane didn’t believe this and took his phone out to Google an image of McPake.
While under cross-examination from defence solicitor David Duncan, Mr Rumgay denied making remarks to McPake about his knee but admitted taunting him about the 6-2 scorelines.
Mr Duncan said: “You know him. You support the club that is in opposition to him as a manager and as a player. You have accepted making reference to celebrated taunts and you were asked to give these guys some space.
“You accept that you swore, you said ‘f*** off’ and had it not been for what you guys did, nothing would ever have happened.”
Mr Rumgay replied: “Possibly not.”
Irvine, who spent six seasons at Dens Park, admitted headbutting Mr Rumgay to his left cheek which caused bruising.
The court was told that a raging Irvine, a first offender, lashed out following the remarks made about McPake’s knee injury.
Gary McIlravey, defending Irvine, said his client was “totally appalled” by his behaviour, adding that the attack was “out of character”.
Sheriff David Clapham said he had reasonable doubt over whether McPake made the remark and as a result found him not guilty. Irvine was fined £250.