Glasgow & West Scotland

Celtic pitch invasion fan admits assault

John Hatton Image copyright Reuters
Image caption John Hatton was led away by stewards after the incident in the 40th minute of the game

A Celtic fan has admitted invading the pitch and assaulting a Paris St-Germain player during Celtic's 5-0 defeat in the Champions League.

Twenty-one-year-old John Hatton, from Belfast, jumped over a metal railing and ran on to the pitch at Celtic Park on Tuesday night.

He assaulted PSG forward Kylian Mbappe by attempting to kick him.

Hatton was granted bail and sentence was deferred until 11 October for background reports.

Tesco worker Hatton also pled guilty to behaviour likely to incite public disorder by approaching the French striker.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard the incident happened in the 40th minute after PSG's Edinson Cavani scored the team's third goal.

Hatton was banned from every football ground in the UK by Sheriff Sukwinder Gill.

The sheriff told him: "I don't know much about football. But this was a high profile match. It was a Champions League match. It was televised across the UK."

Defence lawyer Dan Cameron said: "The incident wasn't viewed on television screens. It was 40 minutes into the match. He was taken by security stewards almost immediately from the pitch.

"The match wasn't disrupted for any great length of time. He had consumed a lot of alcohol and can only remember parts of the day."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Hatton assaulted Paris Saint Germain forward Kylian Mbappe by attempting to kick him

A second Celtic fan, Anthony Lavelle, admitted punching Hatton on the head as he was being led from the stadium by police.

Depute fiscal Louise McNeil said: "Mr Lavelle was a spectator and after seeing John Hatton invading the pitch he became upset and angry.

"While the police were escorting Mr Hatton from the stadium he punched him on the head. Mr Lavelle was then arrested."

Defence lawyer Ann McKinlay said: "His last conviction was 42 years ago when he was 19.

"Mr Lavelle was far from the only person who was angry about the pitch invasion. The consequences for the club could be very serious. Uefa could make them play their matches behind closed doors."

Banning order refused

The court was told that 61-year-old Lavelle, who now lives in St Albans, Hertfordshire, has been a Celtic supporter since he was 13 and takes his nephew, who suffers from epilepsy, to matches.

Sheriff Gill fined Lavelle £400 and gave him two months to pay it.

She refused a Crown motion to impose a football banning order on him.

Sheriff Gill told Lavelle: "You have been going to football matches for 48 years with no trouble and you take your nephew to matches.

"If Celtic Football Club wish to revoke your season ticket that's a matter for them, but, I would hope they would see sense."

Celtic have been charged by Uefa following the pitch invasion on Tuesday night.

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