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Celtic fan filmed singing sectarian song is handed six-month ban

Lewis Connor was given the football banning order after the incident at McDiarmid Park on May 15.

Perth Sheriff Court
STV

A Celtic supporter has been banned from attending all football matches after being filmed singing a sectarian song with a group of fans at a televised league match.

Lewis Connor was made subject to a six months football banning order after a court heard he was a known figure in a group of fans called the Style Mile Vandals.

The court heard the group of 25 fans threw flares and smoke bombs and hit a police car with cans while their team was playing St Johnstone in the SPFL.

The 18-year-old, of Atholl Crescent in Paisley, admitted singing about "Orange b******s" at St Johnstone's ground, McDiarmid Park in Perth, on May 15 this year.

Fiscal depute Bill Kermode told Perth Sheriff Court: "At 7.45pm an SPFL match took place between St Johnstone and Celtic. There were 7,000 spectators and it was broadcast live on BT Sport.

"Police were deployed with cameras. One was a Celtic FC 'spotter'. Around 25 members of the 'Style Mile Vandals' were observed coming from a supporters' bus in the car park.

"They stood together in the North Stand. Just after kick-off a flare and two thunder-flashes were set off from among the group, but the person responsible was not identified.

"At 8.15pm one of the group was ejected for unruly behaviour. The remainder of the group left the stadium, setting off a smoke bomb and a further flare as they left. It was captured by the BT cameras.

"Cans were thrown towards a stationary police vehicle. Police left to monitor the group. The accused was a prominent member of the group.

"He was singing along with songs. He was identified by the spotter officer who had previous dealings with him. They were singing the Green Flag Flying High which had the line 'you'll never be mastered by Orange b*****s'.

"He was clearly observed singing 'Orange b*****s'. That is a sectarian reference, clearly perceived to be directed at Rangers fans. The group were also heard to take part in pro-IRA songs."

Solicitor Kevin McCarron, defending, said the CCTV footage showed scaffolder Connor's involvement lasted for just 13 seconds.

Mr McCarron said: "There's no excuse for it. The Style Mile Vandals were a group of young men aged between 14 and 20. They no longer exist.

"Some of the behaviour was unruly and some was high jinks to entertain other fans, but on this occasion they stepped over the mark. It's been a salutary lesson.

"If he has not learned his lesson then he's a very stupid young man. He was clearly identified on CCTV. It was an error of judgment on his part.

"He has caused shame and embarrassment to his family. He is sorry. It was a moment's madness. The prospect of a football banning order gave him palpitations."

Sheriff William Wood said: "This is precisely the sort of behaviour the legislation on football banning orders is directed at. This will be a hard lesson for you."

The banning order was imposed for six months.

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