ROOKIE cops who have never policed an Old Firm match will be taught sectarian songs to tackle bigotry, the Evening Times can today reveal.


Officers who have joined the ranks of Police Scotland since the last flashpoint derby will be briefed on some of the hate songs favoured by bigots.

It has been almost three years since the last Old Firm clash - but police say that won't be used as an excuse and have vowed to arrest anyone singing sectarian songs.

Senior officers will law down the law to new recruits on which songs are considered illegal.

A police source said: "Obviously some of these songs are recognisable.

"But we will be making sure all officers involved in policing the match are aware of what is acceptable and what is not.

"If you sing an offensive, sectarian song, we'll arrest you."

Police chiefs have remained tight-lipped about how many officers will be on duty as Rangers take on Celtic at Hampden Park on Sunday.

But the Evening Times can reveal 'rest days' for some officers in Glasgow have been cancelled.

The match is being shown on BBC1 Scotland and cops are determined viewers, who are watching around the world, won't have to listen to sectarianism from the stands.

Extra cops will be on duty as police fear the 1.30pm kick-off time for this weekend's game will give fans time to drink before the match and possibly fuel trouble.

Police are braced for an upsurge in incidents but vowed crime will not be tolerated before, during or after the match.

The insider added: "We won't allow sectarian singing in the stands and we won't allow it in the streets and pubs after the match either.

"That's why it is vital all officers - whether they have been involved in policing a Rangers v Celtic match before or not - is aware of what behaviour and songs to be aware of."

The Evening Times also understands police chiefs are concerned about banners from either side of the Old Firm inciting crowd trouble on the day.

But the security operation for Sunday's match - and the crucial hours after - has been meticulously planned by some of Scotland's most experienced officers.

Club officials were previously reminded of their "responsibilities" to behave themselves at the Old Firm derby.

Players and coaches were also warned they faced arrest if their antics provoked the crowd.

It came after the notorious Old Firm "Shame Game" of March 2011.

Three Rangers players were sent off and a dozen yellow cards were shown. Neil Lennon and Ally McCoist even squared up to each other at the end.

Around 185 people were detained throughout March 2, including more than 30 at the game.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said the match would be "policed appropriately".