Football: The Sweeper - Mascot on the mat
Saturday 24 April 1999
Club: St Mirren.
Appearance: A 6ft panda.
Crime sheet: Paisley Panda's troubles stem almost entirely from his behaviour at derby games against the Saints' deadliest rivals, Greenock Morton. Inside the Panda lurks an amiable chap called Andy ("best not to use my surname"), and in the first derby this season, he taunted the Morton fans with a scrubbing brush and soap and a jaunty chant along the lines of "what a bunch of soap dodgers." Harmless enough you'd think, even when he went as far as chasing a Morton player shouting: "You need a wash." As Andy said this week: "It's not meant to offend anyone." In the most recent match between the sides, he continued his theme, bringing onto the pitch a giant "magic tree" air freshener, with which he taunted the opposition fans. They were not best pleased, and Andy confirmed this week that he will now officially be investigated by the Scottish FA following a police caution. Eat your heart out, Cyril the Swan.
In mitigation, your Honour: Paisley Panda is a Love Street favourite, nimble on his feet, not bad at balletic poses and generally regarded as a cheeky but loveable rogue. Not that it washes with Morton fans.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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