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COPS PROBE CELTIC IBROX ‘SECTARIAN ABUSE’, DUBAI ROW

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POLICE Scotland are investigating sectarian abuse aimed at Celtic players as they arrived at Ibrox for the weekend Premiership encounter.

Videos on social media appear to show a number of bystanders gathered outside the stadium yelling insults at the visitors as they came off their coach and entered the ground.

Celtic, who lost 1-0 through a Callum McGregor own goal, have described the incident as “unacceptable” and confirmed they had sent a report to the police authorities.

A club spokesman said: “The sectarian abuse suffered by our players and staff is completely unacceptable.

“We have raised this issue with Police Scotland and they have confirmed they are investigating the matter. Clearly, we would hope that all efforts are made to identify those responsible and for all appropriate action to be taken.”

LINE-UP…Celtic players observe the one-minute silence for the Ibrox Disaster victims from half-a-century ago.

Superintendent Stevie Dolan of Police Scotland said: “We can confirm that an investigation is ongoing into abusive comments and singing around the time of the Celtic FC team coach arriving at Ibrox Stadium prior to the football match on Saturday, 2 January.

“This is an active enquiry and no arrests have been made at this stage.”

The Scottish Government, meanwhile, have asked the SFA to investigate Celtic for a squad warm-weather training camp trip to Dubai this week with the club due to return on Friday.

The Hoops hierarchy have hit back at the Holyrood rulers, maintaining the relevant authorities approved the trip when it was arranged in November. The club is permitted to travel to the UAE as part of the elite sports exemption allowed by the government.

ON GUARD…police at the Ibrox entrance on Saturday.

A Scottish Government statement read: “We would expect the SFA to look into Celtic’s trip further – while there are travel exemptions for elite sports which are designed to facilitate international & European competition, if we feel they’re being abused, we won’t hesitate to remove this privilege.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney told BBC Scotland: “I don’t think it’s a good idea. I don’t think it’s a particularly great example to set.

“When we are asking members of the public to take on very, very significant restrictions on the way in which they live their lives, I think we have all got to demonstrate leadership on this particular question.

“They will be allowed back in, but they will have to follow all rules in the process and you know, frankly I don’t think it’s a very good idea to be doing that at this stage.”

Celtic have responded by tweeting: “The training camp was arranged a number of months ago & approved by all relevant footballing authorities & @scotgov through the Joint Response Group on 12th November 2020.

“The team travelled prior to any new lockdown being in place, to a location exempt from travel restrictions. The camp, the same one as we have undertaken for a number of years has been fully risk assessed.

“If the club had not received Scottish Government approval then we would not have travelled.”

Celtic’s next game will be the rearranged Premiership fixture against Hibs at Parkhead on Monday.

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