THERE are certain fan behaviours which are simply impossible to condone.

Sectarian chanting, racist abuse, throwing missiles and setting off pyrotechnics in crowded areas, to give just a handful of examples, are all reprehensible.

Anyone who is found to have engaged in those offences can have no complaints about whatever punishment they are subsequently hit with by a football club, the authorities or both. 

It is certainly to be hoped the action which is taken by the courts against the Rangers supporter who has admitted igniting a flare at Ibrox during the Europa League match against Real Betis last month sends out a clear message that such conduct will not be tolerated. 

But is leaving your seat, jumping over an advertising hoarding and going out onto the pitch to celebrate when your team has scored a dramatic injury time winner really the most heinous of crimes?

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Yes, it is reckless, ill-advised and on no account to be encouraged. Is it not, though, a joyous rather than a malevolent act? Does such a spur-of-the-moment reaction to a dramatic goal not simply underline how passionate a sport it is? Can it not actually enhance the spectacle and atmosphere of a game?

In ordinary circumstances perhaps. However, there was nothing ordinary about the cinch Premiership encounter between Motherwell and Celtic at Fir Park last Saturday. The events which took place towards the end of the meeting between the first and the fourth placed teams in the top flight were concerning.

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An investigation into what transpired before, during and after the match is currently being carried out. Hopefully, that will shed some light on the reasons for the off-field unrest which resulted in a police officer and a steward suffering injuries and possibly offer a few suggestions about how similar disorder can be prevented in future.

The most alarming aspect of the game was the obvious overcrowding in the South Stand which housed the travelling support. Stairways were clearly blocked by Celtic fans sitting and standing in them. There were claims that some of them had “tailgated” their way in to the ground without tickets.

The inquiry which is being conducted should determine if that was actually the case.  But fans squeezing through automated turnstiles – which are not manned and simply require a barcode to be scanned to be opened - two at a time is very much a growing modern phenomenon.

It is not just an issue in the away ends of stadiums around the country either. Social media is awash with tales from season ticket holders who have turned up at their regular seats to find somebody else sitting there. 

There were also widespread rumours about some Celtic fans attempting to force open the doors into Fir Park at the weekend.

These were substantiated by a video which was posted on Twitter by North Curve Celtic. The mobile phone clip - which was entitled “Pig Watch” and had Yakety Sax, the theme tune to The Benny Hill Show, played over it - showed six police officers barricading a fire exit as those inside tried to barge it open.

Such incidents can have potentially serious repercussions. There was a medical emergency on Saturday in one of the stands where the home fans were billeted. Mercifully, the individual received the treatment which they required in time. Still, with resources stretched elsewhere, it took longer than it normally would have to arrive.

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The late, late goals scored by Luis Palma, Blair Spittal and Matt O’Riley also led to pitch invasions of increasing sizes by sections of both the Celtic and Motherwell supports.

An understandable and acceptable response to the remarkable developments at the end of what was a tense and important game? Not if a large number of fans had entered the ground illegally. One of those who is involved in the post-mortem this week described the scenes as “a disaster waiting to happen”.

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Club officials, stewards and police will all agree that the vast majority of football supporters pose them no problems, none whatsoever, and simply want to watch the match and cheer their heroes to a victory. But every team has an element which seems hell bent on causing trouble.

They can complain about being criminalised and their human rights being violated as much as they like. They are, though, letting down, endangering even, their fellow fans with their selfishness and stupidity.

Crushes at football stadiums have long been consigned to the past thanks to the recommendations which were contained within the Taylor Report that was published in the wake of the Hillsborough Disaster. It would be over the top to suggest there will ever be a return to the dark days of the 1970s and 1980s.

Still, the Premiership fixture at Fir Park last Saturday highlighted that fan safety must always be taken seriously. It drove home that dangerous situations can and do still arise.

Police Scotland face myriad challenges. Further reductions to officer staffing levels due to budget cuts will do nothing to help maintain order amid a worrying trend and keep the match day experience enjoyable and safe for everyone going forward.