CELTIC football club have issued an apology to the victims of historic sex abuse within both the club and Celtic Boys' Club.

In a lengthy statement posted this evening, the Club hit out at the "abhorrent crime" as they try to "confirm its position" in light of recent speculation.

It comes ahead of a Channel 4 documentary tonight - which the network's chief correspondent Alex Thomson revealed will look "into paedophile rings in Scottish football generally and connected to Celtic".

Despite previously expressing "regret and sorrow" over the events, it is believed this is the first time the club has officially issued an apology. 

The move by the club to "avoid any confusion" also comes two days after a sixth Celtic Boys' club coach was understood to be at the centre of new child abuse claims.

A statement is understood to have been given under oath – by a man now in his late 50s describing how he was repeatedly abused by a man in the early 70s.

In the sworn statement, the man says he was abused at Barrowfield, the then training ground of Celtic FC, when he was 10 or 11.

Four men associated with Celtic or the boys' club  – including Jim Torbett and Frank Cairney – were convicted of historical sex abuse against children, while a fifth alleged perpetrator is yet to face justice.

READ MORE: In Full: Celtic's statement as club says 'sorry' for first time over historic child abuse

The Celtic statement reads: "In light of recent speculation and to seek to avoid any confusion, the Club wishes to confirm its position regarding the historic abuse that took place at Celtic Football Club and Celtic Boys’ Club. 

"Celtic Football Club is appalled by any form of historic abuse and has great sympathy for those who suffered abuse and for their families. The Club is very sorry that these events took place. 

"The abuse of young people is an abhorrent crime. Unfortunately it has affected many areas of society."

In May last year, former Celtic Boys Club coach and kitman James McCafferty, 73, was jailed for six years and nine months after he admitted preying on ten teenage boys between 1972 and 1996.

Three months earlier, in February, former Boys Club manager Frank Cairney was jailed for four years after being convicted of nine charges of sexually abusing young footballers.

In November 2018, Boys' Club founder Jim Torbett, 71, was jailed for six years after a judge ruled he used the football team as a "recruiting ground" to prey on boys.

And in December that year, former Boys' Club chairman Gerald King, 66, was also found guilty of sexually abusing four boys and a girl while working as a teacher. 

The Celtic statement added: "With regard to the allegations regarding historic abuse at Celtic Boys’ Club (which, so far as we have been made aware, relate to the period prior to 1997), although Celtic Football Club is a separate organisation, we take these extremely seriously because of the historic contacts between the two organisations. 

"Police investigations were given support, so as to seek to ensure that those individuals who abused young people were brought to justice.

"The Club has been at the leading edge in Scottish football of putting welfare and safeguarding protections in place for our young people and continues to work with Scottish football to make it a safe place for young people.

"These are very sensitive matters. There are ongoing legal proceedings which prevent us from discussing any case in any detail. 

"It would not be appropriate for the Club to comment in the media about any individuals or events. 

"In summary, these are historic issues, which the Club is dealing with in a responsible manner and in conjunction with its advisers. The Club reiterates its sincere sympathy, regret and sorrow for those affected. 

"As we have said repeatedly, the Club will stand by its responsibilities, respecting the due process of law."

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