Fri, Mar 04, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Scottish FA slams ‘embarrassing’ Old Firm bust-up

AFP, GLASGOW

The Scottish Football Association angrily condemned the shameful scenes in Wednesday’s Old Firm cup clash, confirming that an investigation had been launched.

Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan accused Celtic and Rangers of “embarrassing” Scottish soccer.

The game saw a total of 13 yellow cards and three red while Celtic boss Neil Lennon and Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist had to be pulled apart following an ugly confrontation.

“The Scottish FA categorically condemns the inflammatory and irresponsible behavior throughout last night’s Scottish Cup replay between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park,” Regan said yesterday.

“I was both saddened and deeply embarrassed to witness the scenes that unfolded during what is supposed to be Scottish football’s flagship fixture: These images were broadcast around the world and shows our game in a poor light,” he said. “I acknowledge the pressures of expectation on both clubs but last night’s behavior crossed the boundaries of acceptable conduct at a football match.”

The Scottish Police Federation joined the chorus of criticism yesterday, calling for an end to the “madness” that often tarnishes meetings between Scottish soccer’s eternal rivals.

Some 34 people were arrested on Wednesday and SPF chairman Les Gray warned that police no longer had the budget to deal with match-day violence. Future derbies should be played behind closed doors or banned altogether unless there was an improvement in crowd behavior.

“We simply don’t have the money and resources to do this,” Gray said. “Everyone involved needs to sit down and look at this. Something has to give. This madness cannot go on.”

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