Football: Mahe has to accept the blame

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STEPHANE MAHE was singled out for blame as the Scottish Premier League held Celtic's players responsible for the disturbances at the Old Firm title decider on 2 May. An SPL Commission of Inquiry has fined Celtic pounds 45,000 for their part in the scenes during and after the crucial Parkhead match, which saw the referee Hugh Dallas struck by a coin and a number of fans invade the field. Rangers won 3- 0 to clinch the title.

Mahe's refusal to accept his sending-off after two bookings for dissent was highlighted in the Commission's report, made public yesterday via the official SPL website.

Celtic said last night they have no plans to appeal, but in a statement described their punishment as "excessive, considering the combination of contributing factors that were outwith our control".

The Commission ruled that Celtic refused to heed police advice to emphasise to their players beforehand that their behaviour during the match would have a direct impact on that of the crowd.

Celtic's claim that the trouble was "unconnected" to Mahe's actions was rejected by the Commission, who asserted the French 's "protracted and aggressive demonstrations of dissent" made a "material contribution".

Rangers' Rod Wallace and Celtic's Vidar Riseth were also sent off while a further seven Celtic players were shown yellow cards. Rangers' fate will be determined by a separate inquiry, for which no date has yet been set.