Football: Hibernian to investigate Goram incident

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The Independent Online
The Hibernian chairman, Douglas Cromb, yesterday launched an internal inquiry into an incident in which a supporter was alleged to have attacked Andy Goram, the Rangers goalkeeper, on the Easter Road pitch on Sunday.

A man appeared in court in Edinburgh yesterday, charged with assault and breach of the peace for the incident, which came during Rangers' 2- 0 Scottish League victory.

Cromb was waiting for reports from the police and stewards who were on duty at Easter Road, while the Scottish Football Association is also to investigate the incident.

However, the Labour MP John McFall, deputy shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, has asked for an intelligence supremo to be appointed and accused the SFA of being "too complacent" about security.

The match was shown live on Scottish Television and follows an incident at Aberdeen in January when the referee, Michael McCurry, was hit by a coin which had been thrown from the stands.

"You are asking me how a fan was able to run on to the pitch and get to an opposition player and I want to know the same thing," the Hibernian chairman said.

Cromb, who described the incident as "deplorable", denied there had been a lack of adequate policing at the match.

As the Goram incident flared, there was a commotion in another part of the ground and the police said after the match that there had been six arrests and eight ejections.

"We actually had more police on duty yesterday than is normal," Cromb insisted. "We had the full complement for a Category A game, which is one against Celtic, Rangers or Hearts, and we had beefed up that total as well."

Cromb was at a loss as to how else a club could prevent such an incident, although clearly erecting fences again is the only obvious answer.

Jim Farry, the chief executive of the SFA, confirmed that they will wait for the report from the match referee, Willie Young, before setting up an inquiry. "The management of any sport has to be concerned when something like this happens," Farry said.

Rangers' Gordan Petric and Paul Gascoigne have been cleared to play in the Old Firm title decider with Celtic at Ibrox on 17 March.

Both were booked at Hibernian on Sunday, but are still below the 16-point disciplinary threshold, which would incur three-match bans.

Richard Gough, the Rangers captain, will miss the match through injury and defender David Robertson will be starting a two-match suspension. Gough's comeback after a four-match absence lasted only 44 minutes before he left the pitch with a calf strain which will keep him out from four to six weeks.

"Richard has had his calf put in plaster now until the end of the week," said Walter Smith, the Rangers manager. "It still looks like he will be out for a month at least. Alex Cleland, Craig Moore and John Brown have all played in that position this season so we have one or two options, but we will miss Gough's influence on the team."

Gordon Durie, Rangers' top goalscorer, should resume training in a week or so, but it will be touch-and-go for the Celtic match on St Patrick's Day.

Meanwhile, Ian Ferguson could be fit for Saturday's Scottish Cup quarter- final against Third Division Caledonian Thistle at Tannadice Park.

Alan Lawrence, the Hearts striker, is out of Thursday's cup quarter- final against First Division St Johnstone. Lawrence has been given an immediate one-match ban for an incident in a match against Rangers last October.

However, the committee have dropped the 12 penalty points against Lawrence after hearing evidence from the Rangers defender Craig Moore, who was caught by Lawrence's elbow in the Ibrox match. Both players gave evidence yesterday after Lawrence was granted a second hearing through the SFA's appeals process.

n The Juventus captain, Gianluca Vialli, will miss tomorrow's European Cup quarter-final first leg at Real Madrid. Vialli, who needed 11 stitches after suffering a gashed ankle in the Italian champions' 5-0 defeat of Padova in Serie A on Saturday, will be out for at least a week. The Turin side are expected to rely on their Italian internationals Alessandro del Piero and Fabrizio Ravanelli up front, with Attilio Lombardo reinforcing the midfield.