Celtic fans '˜deserve explanation' after crush at Old Firm game

A Celtic FC fan from Northern Ireland has said supporters 'deserve an explanation' after five people were injured trying to get into Sunday's Old Firm match at Parkhead.

Monday, 3rd September 2018, 1:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 5:16 am

Hundreds of fans were caught in a crush in the corridor under the stadium’s North Stand due to a closed gate ahead of yesterday’s clash with Rangers.

Former Larne mayor Martin Wilson described the chaotic scenes that unfolded outside the ground as some fans scaled a high fence in a bid to escape the crush.

One person was taken to hospital after falling from a wall and others were treated at the scene.

Former Larne mayor Martin Wilson witnessed the scenes outside Celtic Park ahead of Sunday's Old Firm game

Lifelong Celtic fan Mr Wilson told the News Letter he has never experienced anything like this in the 40 years he has been travelling to matches at Celtic Park.

The ex-SDLP councillor added: “People were panicking and a number of fans, particularly younger ones, were clearly in distress. I saw one man lying out cold and the paramedics were working on him.

“As I arrived the crush was already happening and so I was thankfully on the periphery of it. The stewards were stopping us from moving forward and as a result I missed the first 10 minutes of the game.

“I witnessed people scaling the wall into the adjacent cemetery to make their way round to the other end of the stadium.

“From talking to other people, it seemed that stewards and police had closed a gate mid-way up the tunnel, which seems to have initiated the congestion. I don’t know why that was done.”

Mr Wilson said fans are now calling on the club to explain what happened and offer reassurances that such scenes will not be repeated.

He added: “The only other time I have seen anything like this was at the 1985 Scottish Cup final at Hampdon Park against Dundee United. As a matter of fact, my brother broke his arm at that incident. But I have never seen this at Parkhead before and I think the fans deserve an explanation as to why it happened and how they are going to mitigate against it happening again.”

Police Scotland have said lessons will be learned following the incident.

Celtic FC said it would “work closely” with Police Scotland to investigate the matter, adding: “The club and police will advise of the outcome of this investigation once it is complete.”

The Hoops won the Scottish Premiership match 1-0.