Saints star stuns Well but admits to his shock after sickening taunts


Last updated at 09:56 01 March 2007

Jason Scotland fired St Johnstone into today's Tennent's Scottish Cup semi-final draw - and silenced the Motherwell fans who had subjected him to sickening racist abuse.

The Trinidad and Tobago striker headed home Saints' second goal in 72 minutes and, despite a late strike from Ross McCormack, the First Division side deservedly held on for a famous 2-1 victory at Fir Park.

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However, the evening was soured by the home fans' chants at the beginning of the game and the SFA are sure to investigate following the ugly scenes.

Around a dozen home 'supporters' began making monkey noises towards the Trinidad and Tobago international within minutes of the start of the quarter-final tie.

The incident sparked ugly scenes within the main stand as outraged fellow Motherwell fans rounded on the racists.

The angry supporters quickly reported the small group to stewards and although they were not ejected from the ground, there was no more abuse directed at the player.

Saints hero Scotland said of the sickening incident: "I carried Scotland on my back in the World Cup and to get that kind of abuse is awful. It is the first time it has happened to me in this country.

"I didn't pay any attention to it - I just let my football do the talking. It's great to beat an SPL team and I am delighted to be in the next round.

"Even though we are not a Premier team by name, we have the players to go out and get good results against good teams.

"This was a good result for St Johnstone and now we are excited about getting to another semi-final."

St Johnstone manager Owen Coyle said: "I actually didn't hear it, but it's disappointing when that happens. But I suppose you could say Jason has silenced them tonight. That is the best way to silence people like that."

Ironically, the latest shameful actions came on the day SPL secretary Iain Blair had outlined plans to introduce a new set of regulations to be enforced in the event of recurring unacceptable behaviour from supporters.

The Scottish game's rulers are keen to follow UEFA's lead on the issue and the changes could come into effect for the start of next season.

Blair revealed: "The aim is to create a framework within our regulations that deals with crowd behaviour and the bigotry issue."

Scottish football was rocked earlier this season when pictures surfaced of Airdrie United fans on a supporters' bus decked out in Klu Klux Klan-style white robes.

And this latest incident comes as a deep disappointment given the high-profile work done across the country by the Kick Racism Out Of Football campaign.

Last night, however, 27-year-old Scotland took his revenge with a second-half headed goal - his 20th of the season - to add to a 20th-minute opener by strike-partner Peter MacDonald.

Boss Coyle was obviously delighted with his side's show and added: "We knew it was going to be difficult tonight because Motherwell have been in tremendous form. But we came here to attack and that's what we did."

The thoroughly-deserved win ensured the Perth side's name will be in the hat alongside Celtic, Dunfermline and Hibs when the draw for the semi-finals is made live on BBC Scotland tonight at 6.45pm.

Motherwell manager Maurice Malpas was downbeat as he described his side's performance as their worst in the past three months.

He said: "It's disappointing but St Johnstone came with a game-plan better than ours. We wanted to win but we never stood up to be counted. I would say it's probably our worst performance of the year. The way we went about our business was wrong."

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