Hibernian chairman Rod Petrie shifts stance and condemns cup final crowd trouble

  • Thousands of Hibernian fans flooded onto Hampden pitch at full-time 
  • Hibernian ran out 3-2 winners against Rangers in Scottish Cup final  
  • Rangers say players and staff were assaulted during the pitch invasion
  • SFA have announced their plans to set up an independent commission  

Under-fire Hibernian chairman Rod Petrie has condemned the violent scenes at Hampden that marred his club’s first Scottish Cup triumph since 1902.

Petrie had been roundly criticised after he initially described the post-match pitch invasion by thousands of Hibs supporters following their team’s 3-2 victory over Rangers on Saturday as ‘114 years of exuberance’.

Fans had streamed on to the park at the final whistle, with some pulling down the goal posts and other digging up turf for souvenirs.

Police attempt to push back the Hibernian fans who were attempting to make their way down to the pitch

Police attempt to push back the Hibernian fans who were attempting to make their way down to the pitch

But a live television audience watched in disbelief as Hibs fans goaded their Rangers counterparts at the other end of the stadium and fighting broke out on the pitch between rival sets of fans.

Both teams were still trying to make their way off the pitch as the chaos ensued, and the Ibrox club claimed that a number of their staff and players were assaulted, with shocking images showing a number of Rangers players being apparently confronted by supporters.

Following Petrie’s initial comments, Rangers issued a blistering statement on Sunday night expressing fury at what they saw as a lack of official condemnation of the Hibernian fans’ behaviour, and accusing ‘biased’ SFA vice-chairman Petrie of ‘playing down’ the ‘mayhem and violence’. 

On Monday, as the SFA announced it is setting up an Independent Commission to investigate Saturday’s disorder, the Edinburgh club released a statement apologising for the shameful scenes.

However, they also called for the commission to be given the freedom to reach a verdict ‘without fear of favour’. 

Rangers fans set off flares during the Scottish Cup final defeat at Hampden Park on Saturday 

Rangers fans set off flares during the Scottish Cup final defeat at Hampden Park on Saturday 

Forty-eight hours on from the chaos, Petrie attempted to strike a more conciliatory tone in contrast to the ill-received ‘apology’ he gave in the wake of the game.

He said: ‘It is now clear from various sources that supporters being on the pitch at the end of the match led to acts of violence and disorder.

‘I condemn and the club condemns all of the violence and unacceptable conduct perpetrated on the pitch and elsewhere and in the margins of the match at Hampden.

‘There is absolutely no place for it in the game of football.

Rangers Andy Halliday is held back by Rangers security chief David Martin (right) at full-time

Rangers Andy Halliday is held back by Rangers security chief David Martin (right) at full-time

‘Hibernian will do all that it can to support the criminal investigations to ensure that those who have transgressed face the consequences of their actions.’

Hibs welcomed the news of an Independent Commission and pledged their full support to help ensure Saturday’s ugly episode is never repeated. 

The Championship outfit also vowed to crack down hard on any supporter found guilty of ‘unacceptable behaviour’ including the alleged attacks on Rangers players and staff.

In a statement, the club said: ‘The Independent Commission is to look into all aspects of the staging and management of the final. That is right and proper. Everyone involved will want to know what lessons can be learned.

The mass invasion from fans forced police into using horses to keep the crowds at bay and prevent trouble

The mass invasion from fans forced police into using horses to keep the crowds at bay and prevent trouble

‘Hibernian FC will co-operate fully with the Independent Commission in every way it can and the Commission must be allowed to run its course and reach its own conclusions without fear or favour.

‘Hibernian FC today reiterated that the club is sorry that a number of Hibernian supporters invaded the pitch. Whilst emotions were running high, the club cannot condone supporters coming onto the field of play.

‘The club will co-operate fully with all of the relevant authorities to identify supporters involved in behaviour which tarnishes the good name of Hibernian FC.

‘In particular, the club will do everything in its power to bring to book any Hibernian supporters found to have been involved in the most serious allegations of assault – including assaults on the staff or players of Rangers FC.

One fan clearly allowed the occasion to get the better of him and was detained by police as a result

One fan clearly allowed the occasion to get the better of him and was detained by police as a result

‘The club will take the strongest possible sanctions against any supporters involved in criminal activity or unacceptable behaviour.’

Meanwhile, UEFA last night threw responsibility for the Scottish Cup Final aftermath right back at the SFA – by insisting they have no powers to intervene on Europa League qualification.

As some Rangers fans petitioned for Hibs to be denied Europa League entry as punishment for their supporters’ misbehaviour, a UEFA spokesman insisted they would not be intervening.

The spokesman told Sportsmail: ‘That’s the jurisdiction of the SFA, not UEFA. The Scottish Cup Final is a national association game under the jurisdiction of the respective associations or leagues.

‘It is always the national FA or league who issues the licence to compete in UEFA competitions, so we have no power to intervene on that.’

 

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