Glasgow & West Scotland

Former football coach convicted of abusing three boys

A 67-year-old man has been convicted of sexually abusing three young boys who played for a football team he was coaching in Glasgow almost 30 years ago.

Robert Smith denied abusing the boys, who were aged between nine and 12, while managing the team in the Easterhouse area between 1978 and 1987.

He was caught after one victim contacted police, who traced others.

At Glasgow Sheriff Court, sentence on Smith, from Maryhill, was deferred and he was remanded in custody.

'Serious crimes'

Sheriff John McCormick told Smith: "You abused your position as a person involved in football, you used that role as an opportunity to perpetrate serious repeated sexual crimes against young boys."

Smith was convicted of three charges of using lewd and libidinous practices towards the schoolboys on various occasions over the nine year period until 1987.

The court heard that one victim, who is now an adult, had told a friend about the abuse before losing touch with her.

In 2012 when they met again, she urged him to report his ordeal to police.

Their investigation uncovered two other victims.

The men, now aged between 43 and 47, each gave evidence at Smith's trial.

They recalled being abused in the school where the football team gathered, given special treatment and taken aside from the others.

Smith denied the charges and claimed the victims had colluded and given false evidence.

It later emerged that he had a previous lewd and libidinous practices conviction from 1968 - 10 years before becoming involved with the football team.

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