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Dempster: 'Nothing off the table' after Tavernier incident

Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster has condemned the incident at Easter Road.

Incident: Tavernier is confronted by the pitch invader.
Incident: Tavernier is confronted by the pitch invader. SNS

'Raging' Hibs chief Leeann Dempster refused to rule out closing a stand at Easter Road after Rangers captain James Tavernier was confronted by a pitch invader during the 1-1 draw on Friday night.

A home supporter, who has since been arrested, attempted to kick the ball as Tavernier looked to retrieve it for a throw-in.

The pair then laid hands on each other, before police intervened.

The incident came just six days after a glass bottle was launched in the direction of Celtic attacker Scott Sinclair at the same stadium.

Dempster issued a strongly-worded statement on fan behaviour and apologised to Sinclair in the aftermath.

This time around, the Hibs chief opted to address the media as "a statement on the website is clearly not coming through".

Asked if the club would consider closing a stand as a result of the flashpoint, Dempster said: "I think this is a challenge for the whole game, but we are in the middle of it.

"I don't think anything is off the table, to be honest.

"Instead of talking about a good game of football we are talking about an idiot - again.

"So nothing can be off the table.

"If there's a case to be answered then we will deal with the SFA and the SPFL. But I'm not thinking about that just now.

"I'm sitting here embarrassed because a supporter has come over the advertising hoarding and confronted a player. These are high profile matches and it's not good."

Fury: Dempster has been left 'raging' by a second Easter Road incident.
Fury: Dempster has been left 'raging' by a second Easter Road incident. SNS

Seats appeared to be thrown onto the pitch by Rangers fans after the incident involving Ibrox skipper Tavernier, but Dempster said: "I'm not aware of any seats being damaged and I'm not interested in that.

"I apologised (to Tavernier) on behalf of the club. I told him the individual was in custody. I said to him we were embarrassed by it and James was gracious and took our apology.

"Given everything we have talked about and what has been said and written in the past six days I find it astonishing I have to talk about another incident.

"I was going to call him a supporter, but I don't think you can call people like that supporters. To come onto the pitch and confront a player . . . I can use the word unacceptable, but that isn't strong enough.

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1436140-fan-attacks-james-tavernier-during-hibs-v-rangers-clash/ | default

"The person you saw is in custody, where he should be as far as I'm concerned, and we'll find out more about it, but he won't come to another football match at Easter Road. Ever. That is within our gift to deliver.

"There is security there and there are briefings and it is unfair perhaps on us and other clubs when idiots like this who are determined manage to get through and do what they do. Clubs work really hard to try and stop this type of behaviour and it is astonishing it has happened for the second time in a week given what happened last Saturday.

"I had to write to Celtic and Scott Sinclair to apologise and I've had to apologise to James down-stairs. We should be talking about football.

"We absolutely comply with the requirements of the Green Guide and all that is associated with that. There is no opportunity to suggest the club don't take that seriously. We've delivered thousands of safe matches here at Easter Road and I need to see all the footage to see how he managed to get over but you're talking about someone who seemed to be pretty determined."

PFA Scotland call for talks with authorities

Players union PFA Scotland have said that there need to be "candid" discussions between the footballing authorities to put an end to the spate of unacceptable behaviour.

Union chief executive Fraser Wishart said: " "We find ourselves at a loss for words after yet another incident at a football ground which has endangered the safety of one of our members. We previously used the term 'groundhog day' and we can't believe we are back here discussing this topic again, just days after a bottle was thrown at a player during a match at Easter Road.

"We commend James Tavernier for his calm handling of the situation last night. We also welcome Leanne Dempster's swift condemnation of the incident and her comments that 'nothing is off the table' with regards to sanctions and action. It is clear that the current processes in place are not working and we call for open and candid discussions between the relevant authorities to ensure that these dangerous practices are stopped once and for all."

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