Glasgow & West Scotland

Strathclyde Police officers to target 'Old Firm bigots'

Celtic and Rangers fans
Image caption Specialist officers will mingle with fans during the Easter Sunday match at Ibrox

A specialist team of police will be deployed at the next Rangers v Celtic game in a bid to tackle sectarianism.

Strathclyde Police said 35 officers would mingle with the crowd during the Easter Sunday match at Ibrox to target fans involved in sectarian behaviour.

The move follows both clubs endorsing a government-led anti-bigotry plan.

This was drawn up in the aftermath of last month's ill-tempered Scottish Cup replay at Celtic Park which saw scenes of unrest within the stadium.

The game, on 2 March, saw three red cards, several touch-line and tunnel confrontations and 34 arrests as Celtic ran out 1-0 winners.

Action plan

The following day, Strathclyde Police, which described the scenes as shameful, requested a summit with both clubs, the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish government.

All parties later agreed an action plan to tackle Old Firm-related disorder.

This included a re-enforced code of conduct for players and officials and greater enforcement of existing legislation to deal with sectarianism and drink related offences.

Strathclyde Police now plan to take greater action on the latter measure by deploying officers among the crowd during the Easter Sunday clash.

Anyone caught singing inflammatory songs could be arrested and face a football banning order which would exclude them from games for up to 10 years.

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