THE Scottish Government had to act on sectarianism because football bosses are too “lily livered” to tackle it, a Glasgow MSP has said.

As the Scottish Parliament looks certain to vote to scrap the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, Cathcart SNP MSP James Dornan said it has already led to increasing instances of sectarianism.

He said those intent on sectarian behaviour have been “emboldened” by the intention to scrap the act.

The MSP told of being the target of “vile” abuse before and after the Old Firm match.

Mr Dornan who has been vocal in support of retaining the act said MSPs must think very carefully what message they are sending out before they vote to scrap the act on Thursday.

Labour MSP James Kelly’s bill is set to be passed with support of Labour, Conservative, Green and LibDem MSPs.

Mr Dornan said recent events around the Old Firm fixture showed the need for the act to stay.

He said: “If ever the need for the OBFA was highlighted it’s been this weekend.

“I’ve had implied physical threats on twitter, infantile abuse from grown men and utter bigoted whitabootery of the highest order from both sides of the Glasgow footballing divide.”

He said the Scottish Government took a stance when others proved wither incapable or unwilling to act.

Mr Dornan added: “OBFA was brought in because legislation was required to deal with the scourge of sectarianism that blights our game.

The football authorities have shown themselves to be either blind or too lily livered to take on the vested interests and have no intention of battling this head on therefore it has been left to the government.”

He said scrapping the act is sending a signal that sectarian behaviour is acceptable.

The MSP said: “There’s no doubt in the last few weeks there has been an upsurge in blatant sectarian singing at games.

“And as you saw on Saturday, it appears the ‘imminent repeal’ of the Act has emboldened some of the worst to go more public with their intention to break the law.

“I urge every politician in the Scottish Parliament to ask themselves if this is the type of country they want to see portrayed to the rest of the world.”

Mr Dornan said if there are concerns with how the act is working there should be concerted efforts to improve it.

He appealed to MSPs to think of what the outcome of scrapping the legislation will be.

Mr Dornan added: “They clearly have issues with the Act but the way to deal with it is not to repeal the Act but to work with the government to make it better.

“The only consideration when we vote on Thursday should be ‘will this decision make Scotland a better place to live in’?

“Can anyone honestly say repealing the Act will do that?”

Holyrood will vote after a debate on the final stage of the bill to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act on Thursday.