MINDLESS morons abusing players and causing mayhem around Old Firm matches are over-shadowing progress on anti-sectarianism, according to a leading campaign group.

In a week which started with disorder of the streets before and after the Rangers V Celtic match on Sunday and which will end with the anti-sectarian football law being scrapped, religious hatred and bigotry in Glasgow has once again took centre stage.


Before the match a section of Rangers fans staged a march promoted with sectarian flyers calling on fans to march before “the match against the fenians”.

There were violent clashes after the game in Govan streets among rival groups.

Celtic striker, Scott Sinclair, was verbally abused as he waited to board a flight to London with his family on Sunday, which led to three men being removed from the plane before take-off.

Video footage also emerged of Rangers defender, Russell Martin, being abused in a supermarket.

He was called an “orange b******” and a “hun p****” by two men.

Leading anti-sectarian charity, Nil By Mouth, said the perpetrators were “morons”.

Dave Scott, director, said: “Is this a society we want to live in where two men can’t go on a flight with their family or a trip to the shops without being abused by mindless morons.

“There is a mixture of passion, pantomime and poison around Old firm fixtures. What we need is perspective.”

Mr Scott said the problem is magnified around an Old Firm fixture.

He added: “Scotland has made real progress tackling sectarianism. It is a battle this country is winning. What we see is the shriller elements know they are under the spotlight and they are egging each other on though social media.

“The old grievances have found a new arena.

“The legislation didn’t make sectarianism go away and neither will getting rid of it. What we don’t need is cheap political point scoring among politicians.”

Tomorrow the Scottish Parliament votes on scraping the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.

James Dornan, Glasgow Cathcart SNP MSP, said it is a mistake to repeal the law and said recent events show why it is needed.

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.”

Mr Dornan said the message is already getting out there that sectarian behaviour is acceptable.

He added: “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.”

He said the Scottish Government had to act because the football authorities were not willing to tackle it.

He added: “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.”

Scottish Government, Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing said repealing the law will be seen as a poor decision by the Parliament.

She said: “ I continue to believe that the repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication Act is foolhardy and sends out the wrong signal, particularly following a number of incidents over the course of this season where the shadow of sectarianism has again been cast over our national game.”