Government to act after Old Firm night of shame

The Scottish Government yesterday called an emergency summit meeting involving Celtic, Rangers, police and government officials following the events surrounding Wednesday night's ill-tempered Old Firm game at Celtic Park which saw three Rangers players receive red cards and Ally McCoist, the Rangers assistant manager, and the Celtic manager Neil Lennon having to be separated at the final whistle.

Stewart Regan, the Scottish Football Association chief executive, said that "the inflammatory and irresponsible behaviour" during Celtic's 1-0 win in a Scottish Cup fifth-round replay had caused "a degree of faith in Scottish football [to be] lost".

The Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, was already planning to hold a conference in response to the outbreak of disorder around the previous Old Firm game on 20 February after which 16 arrests were made at Celtic Park with a further 229 in the Glasgow area. After Wednesday's events and 34 arrests in and around the ground, that meeting has now been brought forward and will probably be held in Edinburgh next week.

Salmond said: "In terms of how people's actions have an impact on society, the fans of football matches are representatives of their clubs, the players at football matches are role models for society, and the management of football clubs have a particular responsibility. They are people in positions of responsibility and they must – absolutely must – behave responsibly."

Wednesday night was a new low in a troubled season in Scotland, already marred by a referees' strike in November prompted by a lack of respect for match officials from players and coaches, and in which Lennon picked up a hefty six-match touchline ban after being sent off at Hearts. Rangers' Steven Whittaker and Madjid Bougherra were sent off during the match, both for two yellow cards, and after the final whistle their team-mate El Hadji Diouf also received a red card for a second booking after confronting referee Calum Murray.

There was a fracas as the players went up the tunnel at half-time, and at the end Lennon exchanged angry words with McCoist which provoked another bout of pushing and shoving between the coaching staffs.

Regan has launched an immediate SFA investigation and said Wednesday night had "deeply embarrassed" the Scottish game. "The Scottish FA categorically condemns the inflammatory and irresponsible behaviour throughout last night's replay," he said yesterday. "We have already launched an investigation into all incidents that occurred and will do everything in our power to ensure there is no repeat.

"The events at Celtic Park, however, run deeper than the Scottish FA's Disciplinary Procedures. The unedifying sight of two of the country's most recognisable and respected coaches engaged in an angry confrontation was not only unsavoury but exacerbated an already incendiary atmosphere inside the stadium and throughout the west of Scotland."

McCoist, Lennon and Diouf are likely to be charged with bringing the game into disrepute but the Celtic manager claims he bears no ill-will to McCoist. "We've both got a lot of experience of this fixture and know that sometimes, in the heat of the moment, things can be said," Lennon said. "It is a passionate game and both of us want our team to win. However, we were still able to sit down after the game and, as far as we are concerned, the matter is closed."

2010-11 Old Firm games

24 October SPL Celtic 1-3 Rangers

5 bookings (3 Celtic, 2 Rangers)



2 January SPL Rangers 0-2 Celtic

6 bookings (2 Rangers, 4 Celtic)



6 Feb Scottish Cup Rangers 2-2 Celtic

9 bookings, 2 dismissals (6 Rangers, 3 Celtic, 1 red card each)



20 February SPL Celtic 3-0 Rangers

6 bookings (1 Celtic, 5 Rangers)



2 March Scottish Cup Celtic 1-0 Rangers

12 bookings, 3 dismissals (3 Celtic, 9 Rangers, 3 Rangers red cards)



Remaining meetings:

20 March League Cup final

One more SPL game to be arranged

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine