It all seems a bit cloak and dagger to suggest that pyrotechnics are smuggled into football grounds inside flags and banners. I’d always assumed the ‘stick it up your jumper’ technique would have been the delivery mechanism, not that I’ve any experience of the subject.
Flares have been an increasing menace at football games across the UK in recent years, including earlier this season at a Europa League qualifying game at McDiarmid Park, which passed off without mention in the media, but police have previously limited their interventions to lectures and the occasional arrest.
Football clubs are dependent on Police Scotland for safety licenses for games, and in their wisdom, the police have determined this action will remove one method of entering a stadium with pyrotechnics and discharging them without detection. The ‘stick it up your jumper’ technique remains, as does ‘light it while pretending to tie your laces’. Jumpers and tie-up shoes are the real enemy here.
This is an arbitrary over-reaction to the criticism Police Scotland came under for failing to properly police the vandalism at Fir Park, it will not prevent anyone intent on letting off flares inside a football ground from doing so. Over-reacting after under-policing is a well-known phenomenon. Going after flags and banners feels provocative. Coincidence?
You’re likely to find out if you’re in a provocative mood on Thursday; Police Scotland will know that provoking a crowd seldom quietens things down. The reaction to Fir Park made me hopeful that we’d seen the last flare from the Celtic support, now who knows? We’re deep in muscle flexing territory here.
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