Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Hearts owner denies poor preparation for trouble at Rangers match

Ann Budge Image copyright SNS
Image caption Ann Budge said the match will be replayed but a date has yet to be set

Hearts owner Ann Budge has said that trouble at last week's match at Rangers was not caused by "poor or ineffective" preparation.

Some supporter buses were damaged and fans hurt when the match at Ibrox was postponed after 20 minutes due to heavy snow fall.

Ms Budge said she had spoken with a number of officials including the chief superintendent of police in Glasgow.

She said the match would be rearranged, but a date had yet to be set.

Videos posted online showed angry scenes at the game on Friday 16 January, with both sets of fans being segregated by stewards.

Ms Budge said that a pre-match briefing was held with police and safety representatives from Hearts.

In a statement on the Hearts website, she said: "Given that there is no recent history of crowd trouble between Rangers and Hearts supporters, as indeed has been demonstrated twice already this season, there was certainly no reason for the police or the two clubs to expect anything untoward on the night.

"However, due to certain intelligence received, additional police resource was assigned to the game. There was still, however, no reason, nor police intelligence, to believe that disorder would take place between rival fans."

She added: "The SPFL match delegate report states unequivocally that the events of Friday night were in no way caused by poor or ineffective match operation preparation on the part of the home club. Our own Safety Officer shares that view."

Ms Budge said she would personally discuss every aspect of the re-arranged fixture in detail.

She said: "We will focus closely on segregation issues both inside and outside the stadium, as well as car park security and on ensuring safe ingress and egress from Ibrox.

"Last Friday was not a good experience for any of us, for many reasons.

"We must all do our best to ensure no repetition in the future. As ever, I have to ask that all of our fans play their part in stamping out unacceptable behaviour."

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