A senior former Dundee police official has spoken out against “criminal behaviour” at Scottish football matches, telling clubs they need to take responsibility for their fans’ behaviour.
David Hamilton, vice-chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, formerly worked in Dundee for many years.
He said “enough is enough” after a firework was thrown on to the pitch from the Celtic end during a match against St Mirren on Wednesday.
His words come near the end of a season littered with trouble, including pyrotechnics being launched directly at officers, pitch invasions and coins being thrown at players.
Mr Hamilton said: “How someone thought it was a good idea to throw an explosive device at a football player during a match, leaving the goalie disorientated and open to injury, is beyond me.
“Trouble has been building up for months and it’s becoming undeniably difficult to police matches due to crowd behaviour – enough is enough. Clubs need to start taking responsibility for their fans’ actions.”
Mr Hamilton stated that football clubs can search fans on entry when suspicion arises to stop pyrotechnics, alcohol and offensive flags getting into the stadium.
However, he said searches are not being carried out often enough and part of the problem is that fans are aware of this.
Mr Hamilton has also called for improved CCTV to help end “unacceptable criminal behaviour” in and around football grounds.
Police are investigating at least 10 pyrotechnics being thrown directly at officers policing Sunday’s Old Firm game and are treating the incident as a criminal investigation.
Mr Hamilton said: “There is criminal behaviour going on.
“Some people think it’s OK to conduct themselves in an unacceptable manner at football grounds, when they would not behave like that elsewhere.
“It’s a small minority of people and these people are ruining it for everyone. The fans are saying they want it to stop – the clubs need to get a grip.”
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Bob Gordon, 64, of Dundee Social Club, said he was at the Dundee match with his eight-year-old grandson when Celtic fans threw a firework on to the pitch.
He said: “The incident was a disgrace. I was there with my grandson and he was terrified.
“We were at the other end of the ground but the noise from it was really loud – it was pretty intimidating.
“I refused to take him back the next time Celtic came to Dundee.
“The firecrackers, the smoke bombs, even the songs they sing, it’s all nonsense.
“It’s giving Scottish football a bad reputation.
“It’s putting people off from going to the matches.”
Mr Gordon said he no longer travels to Edinburgh or Glasgow for matches as he feels “too intimidated”, even with a group of friends.
He added: “We went for ages without there being trouble at matches, but it’s getting worse.”
Other incidents of reckless fans’ behaviour this season include a Hibs supporter running on to the pitch and trying to take the ball from Rangers captain James Tavernier, at Easter Road. Coins were thrown at former Hibs manager Neil Lennon during the Edinburgh derby by Hearts fans with the Jambos keeper Zdenek Zlamal apparently being struck by a fan when collecting the ball from behind his net.
In another incident, a Rangers fan threw coins at a linesman at the Tony Macaroni Arena in Livingston.
Last year, Dundee United fan Euan Low was fined after throwing a coin at Raith Rovers midfielder Ross Matthews.