Hibernian CEO Leeann Dempster has rightly been commended for looking to eliminate bad behaviour at one of the biggest clubs in the country. The section which had seen a bottle of Buckfast thrown at Celtic star Scott Sinclair and Rangers captain James Tavernier attacked had a growing, unhealthy reputation at Easter Road.
The Hibees’ home is a fantastic venue and should be full of passionate fans getting behind their team. Not trouble, according to two MSPs who spoke exclusively to NTOF.
Trouble isn’t tolerated at Easter Road
“I think Leeann Dempster’s right to make it absolutely clear that such actions are unacceptable and Hibs will route out any troublemakers,” claimed Labour MSP James Kelly.
“But Leeann Dempster is a committed football person and she also recognises the contribution that football makes to society and she also recognises that the vast majority of people that attend football are good, law abiding people that are there to support their team.
“Whereas I accept that unacceptable behaviour needs to be routed out, I won’t have any chuck with a narrative that some in the governing party are trying to put forward that football fans should be treated like second class citizens.
“The vast majority of people that attend junior and senior games up and down this country do so on a Saturday and a Sunday because they want to support their team and that’s what they’re there for. Those people should be respected for that rather than trashed in the press as they have been in some columns recently.”
“For Hearts to shut that whole section of the ground down, to stop supporters being in there who misbehave, that’s a bold statement from the club,” SNP MSP David Torrance told NTOF.
“That’s very progressive, I don’t think any other club’s done that in the history of Scottish football.
“So I think other clubs should follow suit, Rangers and Celtic definitely.
“Hibs are already putting that in place, putting lifetime bans out to anyone that’s caught so clubs have got to be proactive. The big two have got to look at what other clubs are doing, and try and promote that in their ranks as well.
“It’s great that chairs of football clubs are taking these actions to say ‘This is not acceptable’. To me, it’s fantastic that they’ve made a stance that says ‘No, you want to come and follow our football club, you will behave within our ground. If you don’t behave, you will not be back in the ground again.’ That stance is really good.”