Glasgow (AFP) – Hibernian expressed “regret” Sunday at the crowd trouble that marred their Scottish Cup final win.
Soon after the Edinburgh club had beaten Rangers 3-2 to lift the Scottish Cup for the first time in 114 years, several thousand Hibs fans ran onto the pitch at Glasgow’s Hampden Park on Saturday.
Footage showed Rangers’ Lee Wallace being punched, while goalkeeper Wes Foderingham was also attacked.
As what had appeared to be an initially joyful reaction to the end of Hibs’ long wait for Scottish Cup glory quickly turned ugly, Rangers fans also came on to the Hampden turf and fights broke out between rival sets of supporters.
Meanwhile some Hibs fans ‘celebrated’ by ripping up parts of the turf at Scotland’s national stadium and destroying one of the goalposts.
Hibernian chairman Rod Petrie, also the vice-president of the Scottish Football Association, said “over-exuberance” was to blame for the initial pitch invasion and labelled the ensuing violence as “unacceptable”.
A Hibernian statement said: “The club reiterates its regret at the events which unfolded immediately following the final whistle.
“Hibernian always seeks to maintain high standards, and we will work with the authorities to identify any supporter who may have taken part in any form of unacceptable behaviour which has tarnished the club’s reputation.”
Rangers received their losers’ medals in the dressing room while Hibs had a long wait to lift the trophy while the pitch was cleared.
Officials then decided to cancel the traditional lap of honour by the Cup winners as a safety measure.
Rangers praised the “restraint” shown by their supporters following the “disgraceful” behaviour by Hibs fans.
“Rangers players and staff were assaulted by these fans who invaded the pitch and in the interests of their safety could not return to the pitch for the medal presentation,” said a statement issued by the Ibrox side.
“The club would like to commend Rangers fans for the restraint they showed under severe provocation.”
Hibernian’s Liam Henderson, who set up two of his side’s goals, said he was unaware at just how nasty events were becoming at Hampden while being engulfed by jubilant supporters.
“I couldn’t tell you what was happening. I was getting hugged by all sorts,” Henderson said.
“It was a bit emotional, but I went straight to my mum and dad. When we scored the winner my wee brother was right there in the stand so I was hugging him.
“After the game I went straight to my mum and dad. It was a great feeling.”
As attention turned to how police and stewards failed to prevent the worst outbreak of violence at a Scottish Cup final since the infamous clash between Glasgow giants Celtic and Rangers in 1980, the SFA, Police Scotland and stadium chiefs announced an investigation.
“An investigation team has now been established,” said police chief superintendent Kenny MacDonald.
“So far there have been 11 arrests for minor offences.
“As our investigation progresses I have no doubt that additional arrests will be made.”
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